Raymond & Polanski vs. “Mr. Society”

In my previous post, Why Artists Defend Roman Polanki, I analyzed the flap over the Roman Polanski arrest as a case of artists arguing for a privilege to behave like shitheels without being held to account for it. I advanced this as an explanation because I think it covers the facts better than some of the culture-war political narratives being bandied about, especially by conservatives, but I deliberately did not take a position on the rights and wrongs of the arrest or whether I think Polanski should be prosecuted at this late date.

Now I’ll do so. I expect it will startle almost all of my regulars and offend a good many of them, but I think Polanki should be let go.

Yes, Polanski is a contemptible scumbag, and no, I don’t buy the notion that artists should be exempt from civilized standards of behavior, and no, I’m not basing my evaluation on some legal technicality or the rumors of judicial misprison around his 1977 trial. No; my position is that Polanski should be let go because that’s what Samantha Gailey says she wants — and, as the victim of his rape, hers is the only choice that I think should matter a damn.

If Gailey were calling for Polanski to be chemically castrated or executed, my position would be identical. In fact, if she were calling for him to be executed, I’d cheerfully shoot the bastard myself, and not be too concerned about sparing any of the slimy Hollywood apologists for him who might happen to be in the line of fire.

What I am specifically concerned to deny is that “society” has any legitimate interest in punishing Polanski. There are at least two dangerous fallacies in that theory, one implied by the word “society” and one bound up in our notions about punishment. It is really to address the first issue that I am writing this mini-essay; I’ll attack the second one some other time.

The problem with asserting that “society” has an interest in punishing Polanski is that “society” as people want to use it in claims like these doesn’t exist – it’s a semantic spook, a floating abstraction with no actual referent. Samantha Gailey exists; she’s a real person with a real grievance against Polanski. But no matter how hard you hunt for “society”, all you’ll ever find is individuals practicing ventriloquism – invoking the spook to justify what they want to do or think they have to do.

This is why there are no ethical claims in which the term “society” appears as a meaningful referent. You’ll find, if you try inventing some, that they fall into two categories: (a) disguised claims about the rights and duties of each and every individual in the society, or (b) vague and ominous nonsense.

This notion, that “society” actually exists as a sort of huge fictive person with rights, needs, and wants that are separate from and supersede those of individuals, is — and I’m choosing my words carefully here — evil and dangerous. It’s a way for power-seekers and parasites to cow others into submission, arrogating for themselves privileges nobody would grant them if they admitted wanting to meddle in order to gratify merely their own desires.

We’ve learned, painfully, over the last 400 years, that raisons d’etat is too dangerous and sweeping a pretext to let stand — that whenever you treat the authority of “government” as a solvent that trumps individual rights and claims, you are no more than a breath away from odious and grinding tyranny. The fictive personhood of “society” needs to be shot through the head for precisely the same reason.

That’s why I reject any argument that Polanski should be imprisoned after his victim has said she wants the matter dropped — because allowing anyone the privilege to coerce Polanski on behalf of “society” is a threat to everyone far more severe than one superannuated jailbait-jumper could ever be.

187 thoughts on “Raymond & Polanski vs. “Mr. Society”

  1. That sends a pretty solid message that it’s ok to rape someone if you bribe them after the fact to ask that you be let go.

  2. >No; my position is that Polanski should be let go because that’s what Samantha Galley says she wants — and, as the victim of his rape, hers is the only choice that I think should matter a damn.

    I would tend to agree here, except that I’m pretty sure he broke some other law when he fled to France.

    >The problem with asserting that “society” has an interest in punishing Polanski is that “society” as people want to use it in claims like these doesn’t exist.

    Just to be clear, are you saying that “society” doesn’t exist, or just that “society” is not the sort of thing you can make ethical claims about?

    > —

    Proper dashes! Nice.

  3. I feel that Samantha Gailey (you need to do a Find and Replace for Galley – I think a certain box was too close at hand while you were composing…) has the right of it.

    If Polanski is to be tried for anything, it should be “jumping bail”, and that may well be best settled with a civil fine. He has already paid out a civil suit to Gailey circa 2002.

  4. >Just to be clear, are you saying that “society” doesn’t exist, or just that “society” is not the sort of thing you can make ethical claims about?

    The latter; that’s why I qualified one of my topic sentences as I did.

  5. >This is why there are no ethical claims in which the term “society” appears as a meaningful referent. You’ll find, if you try inventing some, that they fall into two categories: (a) disguised claims about the rights and duties of each and every individual in the society, or (b) vague and ominous nonsense.

    It’s not clear to me that claims in category (a) are either meaningless or even necessarily false: if the underlying claims about individuals are true, then so is the aggregated claim expressed in higher-level language.

  6. >That sends a pretty solid message that it’s ok to rape someone if you bribe them after the fact to ask that you be let go.

    An unpleasant consequence, yes, but I accept it with eyes open because I think the consequences of the “Mr. Society” theory are far nastier.

  7. If Galley were, indeed, the only person harmed by Polanski’s actions, you would be correct to let her expressed wishes control his fate. But there are others who have been harmed, or will be harmed, by them — namely, those who have suffered, or will suffer, thanks to some other artist who claims the same privilege that Polanski’s defenders claim for him. In other words, Polanski should pay the penalty for his crime precisely because he is a celebrity criminal, and other celebrities must not be allowed to believe they have permission to commit crimes when others don’t.

    It is, incidentally, these prospective victims who are the intended referent of “society” in arguments like this, and their validity may be judged by substituting for that word the actual persons in question. Most such arguments, I grant, are not valid once this has been done. This one, however, passes the test — the existence of “celebrity privilege” will certainly cause undeserved harm to a large number of innocent persons, and denying it as certainly will not. Now, if you are prepared to reject the idea that we ought to consider the effects of our actions on persons who cannot be identified, you can undercut every possible argument for government. But you would also undercut every possible argument for moral behavior to people who are outside your immediate social circle. The residents of New York City, for instance, could have no duties towards more than a tiny number of the residents of Boston. Any theory that effectively collapses the range of moral obligations to no more than a wandering tribe of hunter-gathers or a small farming village must be wrong …

  8. So what you say is that criminal law should be abolished and replaced with civil law and punitive damages (which would n? o longer be exclusively money)? If not, where do you draw the line ad allow the DA to go beyond the plaintiff’s claims?

    ESR says: No, you got that right.

  9. The initial victim is not the only victim here. Polanski was released on his own recognizance. He promised to return to the court for his sentencing, and he reneged on that promise. He defaulted on his obligation to the State of California and the court.

  10. I don’t know how startling this should be to your regulars, as it is the standard AnCap theory of justice type argument, and you are nothing if not consistent about applying it.

    What I’m not familiar with is the applications of this argument to real life.

    Two men commit an identical crime — one is a millionaire, the other penniless. The first provides restitution to the victim, and the second…? Indentured servitude? Revenge killing?

    I don’t see theoretical anarchocapitalism as a viable system because power vacuums tend to be filled by SOMETHING — whether oppressive local custom, NGO type organizations, etc.
    State != power.

    ESR says: And of course no social order is conceivable without a king at its head either. The year 1750 just called – it wants its prejudices back.

  11. As a law student myself, I think you’re arguing against the entire history of the development of Law from the Stone age days and all the factors that resulting in a system of public criminal justice as it has developed into now.

    I strongly feel that we’ll never go back to a society where duelling is the form of seeking retribution for wrongs.

    Crimes are, and never will be, private wrongs targetted at individuals, and I don’t care if you quote a whole lot of scholarly stuff to counter this. I can never agree with you. Human history has moved away from private vengeance to public system of justice, regardless of all its flaws. The public system of justice at least ensures uniformity in procedure of investigation and punishment. The efficiency or lack of efficiency of the public system is debate, but not the system itself.

  12. I’m not sure I understand where you’re coming from here, or where you’re going.

    I realize that the victim has settled her civil claim against the offender by accepting payment from him, and I have no particular trouble with that. But you seem to argue that We The People should have no claim against a rapist separate from that of the victim, and I’m not sure I can follow you there. Wouldn’t the practical outcome be that powerful and wealthy people, and their friends, can buy (or extort or blackmail) their way out of pretty much everything?

    Are you arguing that “society” (which is me and you and the rest of us) ought to impose criminal liability only in the name of an actual victim, but never separate from her? If so, shall we have no statutory crimes, since the victim can always absolve the criminal at will? And how, in practice, shall we then hold the powerful to account?

    I’m afraid I’m seeing Polanski’s situation very much as a chance pour encourager les autres…

    Cheers
    — perry

  13. I suspect Eric’s next essay will be on the intersection of futures markets and the code duello.

    I also wonder how different this proposed legal system is from one that regulates nearly half a billion people on this planet – possibly more.

    Sharia Law has as its fundamental precepts many similar traits:

    1) Both parties in the suit have to agree that the judge in the case has jurisdiction.
    2) The judge will strongly urge both parties to come to a settlement that is made in private.
    3) The VAST majority of Sharia cases boil down to negotiated arbitration and monetary settlements.
    4) There are no specific hurdles to overcome in becoming a judge in a Sharia court, other than demonstrating a knowledge of contract law as it pertains in Islamic societies; any concerned citizen may become a Sharia judge at the behest (and the consent of) their local community. A handful are women, and always have been, due to the sexual segregation of the culture. Being an imam is not a requirement, though the way the culture is set up, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll gain the knowledge of Islamic contract law without becoming a Qu’ranic scholar.

    Now, Sharia is not the idealized case, but it does illustrate how badly an imperfect implementation of this ideal can run amok. Sharia has concepts for blood debt and murder prices and guidelines for negotiating settlements. These concepts were weeded out of English common law sometime in the 11th Century; they were weeded out of Roman law in the 3rd.

    I posit, but do not claim expertise, that many similarities between Sharia and Icelandic Commonwealth law stem from the same points of origination: Courts that can make some claim to impartiality in their verdict require a society of a minimal wealth to exist. Neither the Beduins that originated Sharia, nor the Norse who settled Iceland, could get far enough in their material comforts, or the race between population growth and famine, to afford such luxuries.

    It also explains why many communities strongly agitate for Sharia courts, particularly when they distrust the ecumenical court system around them. It’s a movement for local control and local input.

  14. @Ken Burnside:

    I think your four principles actually describe arbitration (2 is optional but a settlement will make life easier for any arbitrator). I can only agree to you that a king’s/people’s counsel able to investigate and bring to court individuals who harm “Mr. Society” ‘s interests indirectly is an added cost in terms of taxes, human skills and labor etc. may exceed the means of a less affluent/stratified community. Arbitration is a perfect means of making a judgment on civil (and commercial) cases unless one party has more leverage on the arbitrator than the other. However, in modern western legal systems, arbitration is not available in criminal cases as not only the direct parties – the alleged perpetrator and the victim – have an interest in the decision, but also other members of the society who may have been unlawfully harmed or put at risk by the alleged crime. Thus, these people should have to agree on the selection of the judge or on the settlement as well, not a practical proposition considering most would not be able to identify their actual interest in that particular case.

    In my opinion the issue is whether civil law (with or without arbitration) should completely replace the criminal law. It can be done, the question is why and how.

  15. Oh, and where does esr suggest anything even remotely similar to a duel? His argument is against public prosecution not against courts.

  16. JB,

    or even…

    Two men commit (take part in) the same crime — one is a millionaire, the other penniless. Lets say they drug, then take turns raping a 13 year-old girl.

    So there is no argument that the circumstances are different.

    One is rich… (etc). Just like your scenario.

    Radu,

    In Eric’s world, a society acting together (or a majority of said society, or even a vocal / powerful minority) can not meet out judgement and punishment, especially if that society chooses to appoint or elect intermediaries, such as “courts”. In Eric’s world, only victims can act in these matters, and he stands ready to do their bidding.

    Eric, what if Gailey asked for Polanski to suffer a painful death. Would you deliver same?

  17. >If Galley were, indeed, the only person harmed by Polanski’s actions, you would be correct to let her expressed wishes control his fate. But there are others who have been harmed, or will be harmed, by them — namely, those who have suffered, or will suffer, thanks to some other artist who claims the same privilege that Polanski’s defenders claim for him. In other words,

    You’re talking nonsense. Gailey was harmed by Polanski’s actions, not by celebrity privilege. If others are harmed in the future, it is not celebrity privilege that would do the harm, it’s the individual criminal. The place to put celebrity privilege on trial is in the court of public opinion; courts of law should stick to trying criminals.

  18. >He defaulted on his obligation to the State of California and the court.

    I hold that the the State of California has no legitimate interest in the matter. Whether a court could, in principle. have such a legitimate interest is a different matter, but I’ll tackle that when I describe the theory of a stateless judicial system.

  19. >As a law student myself, I think you’re arguing against the entire history of the development of Law from the Stone age days and all the factors that resulting in a system of public criminal justice as it has developed into now.

    For a law student, you are remarkably ignorant of legal history. I am not arguing against public justice at all, just against prosecution by the state. These are two different categories, and were not confused until about 400 years ago in Europe. In much of the world they are still distinct.

  20. >Eric, what if Gailey asked for Polanski to suffer a painful death. Would you deliver same?

    That would depend on my judgment of whether she deserved such compensation. I’m not sure what my answer would be, but I think you actually wanted the decision procedure rather than the result, yes?

  21. “…in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other…” – Thomas Paine (Common Sense)

    Is the victim above the law?

  22. @esr: Ok, a judicial stateless system.

    But how would you do to speak with other nations ? You need a one representative, who is expressing the views of the whole of the country. How do you define the “views of the whole of the country” ? (elections ?) But then the “views of the whole of the country” are a distinct set of opinions than of every country member (including the one representative), and the actions of the representative must be tracked and checked . You recreate a state. Society do exist, it’s what allows us to interact with other nations.

    Or do you advocate only for the judicial part, among country members ?

  23. >How do you define the “views of the whole of the country” ?

    I don’t try. I don’t think such a thing exists. You might as well try to define the hair color or eye color of the whole country; it’s a category error

  24. >For a law student, you are remarkably ignorant of legal history. I am not arguing against public justice at all, just against prosecution by the state. These are two different categories, and were not confused until about 400 years ago in Europe. In much of the world they are still distinct.

    I am not 100% thorough with the legal history as in the actual events which influenced Law, but I’ve been taught Jurisprudence in our syllabus, and I’ve read up on most of the historical thought processes that led towards the growth of the State-governed and administered criminal justice system. Most of the traditional as well as modern jurists don’t even see this point as debatable but as the mere evolution of Law from private vengeance to public justice.

    I think if you advocate for prosecution by individuals or private litigation, you’ll end up in a situation where the rich and powerful will be able to escape the consequences of their actions far more often than the poor folk. Even though State prosecution might seem flawed, I believe it is the best criminal justice system yet devised within the scope of human conception of justice.

  25. Yes, and I’ll clarify that my usage of the words “public justice” was intended to mean “public prosectuion” or “prosecution by the state”. It was a lazy choice of words, but I think my point stands.

    In a perfect society where individuals can govern themselves, I have no doubt that a system as one you envision will have great value, but until every single individual believes in the rule of law and is willing to be submitted to its procedures and decisions, the system of public prosecution will have to continue.

  26. Eric,
    As I said in an earlier comment, there are five different components to punitive action: revenge, restoration, protection, rehabilitation and deterrence. All five components come from our innate sense of justice, not from some state construct. What I mean by that is that if you talk to people about what the think justice is composed of, and you can get them away from the mechanical structures of the state (and especially if you get them talking about the flaws of the judicial system) their comments fall into these five general categories.

    As I said, Gailey’s claim for revenge and restoration have, apparently, been taken care of in the civil suit. However, there are other aspects of justice that are important. I believe that simply satisfying the claims of the victim are not sufficient, especially so in cases traditionally called “criminal”. Why? Because society is based on a set of shared values. That is why Somalia, despite its anarchic government is still a basket case — there is not social agreement of appropriate behavior.

    Allowing Polanski, or any such perp to walk degrades that set of agreed upon rules of society, and without that we become Somalia. I believe you have previously used the term ‘social capital.’ Polanski steals from our social capital, and must repay that cost.

    Consequently,Gailey is not the only victim here. There is a legitimate cost applied to everyone in the society that needs to be compensated for, whether it is the cost of locking up our children, or the cost of counteracting the negative publicity or something else. Saying that a scumbag like this does not have to compensate all of us is to steal from all of us. Just because the cost is not readily monetized does not mean it is not a very real cost. I recognize it is a very scary, slippery slope, but there is a real cost here that is being ignored if Polanski walks.

    Let me offer a different example: lets say a thief breaks into my neighbors house and steals his TV. This makes me scared, so I buy a burglar alarm and a new steel door. The thief is caught. Do I have a claim against him for the cost of my burglar alarm and new door? His illegitimate actions are the direct and sole reason I bought them.

    However, one other very direct cost that needs to be compensated is the cost to the State of California. On Samantha’s legitimate behest they expended considerable resources to investigate and prosecute the crime. Who should receive that bill, Gailey or Polanski?

    hari says:
    > The efficiency or lack of efficiency of the public system is debate, but not the system itself.

    You are incorrect. inefficiency is an intrinsic characteristic of all government systems. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” is the best argument of all for a private legal system.

  27. I am not society. I am the father of two pre-teen girls. I want Polanski tried so that other men contemplating drugging and raping girls will not think they can escape the consequences by moving to Paris or bribing (“out of court settlement”) their victim.

  28. I would consider the victim’s opinion except for the following: She may simply have had to reconcile her experience, her feelings and her helplessness in light of the possibility that justice will never be administered to the perpetrator. For her own emotional well-being, over 32 years, she may have felt that she had no choice but to compensate for the delinquency of the criminal justice system. Again she is a victim. She pays the price and he does not. Another injustice.

    Perhaps not an egregious injustice, especially if she is a particularly resilient person, which seems to be the case. But what if she were not? Okay, she is and Eric’s point is well taken.

    There is also the matter of flight from justice which is a statutory offense. The victim has no more say in that matter than any other member of society. Most members of society feel that it’s unjust that someone with the means to flee and live elsewhere can easily escape justice.

    You do the crime, you do the time. I’d give him time. At least a year, probably not more than five years.

  29. >I think if you advocate for prosecution by individuals or private litigation, you’ll end up in a situation where the rich and powerful will be able to escape the consequences of their actions far more often than the poor folk.

    And this would differ from the present or any historical system in what way, exactly?

    Since no human society has ever met the standard you are implicitly proposing, it seems unreasonable to demand that a stateless judicial system be perfect in this regard.

  30. >I am not society. I am the father of two pre-teen girls. I want Polanski tried so that other men contemplating drugging and raping girls will not think they can escape the consequences by moving to Paris or bribing (”out of court settlement”) their victim.

    If you feel that strongly about it. shoot him. Then make your preventive argument to a jury. They might decide he needed killing.

    No, I’m not being snarky. Never, ever demand that others do violence on your behalf if you’re not willing to do it yourself – because once you’ve abdicated that responsibility, tyranny and hell on earth are only a short trip further down the road.

  31. >I think if you advocate for prosecution by individuals or private litigation, you’ll end up in a situation where the rich and powerful will be able to escape the consequences of their actions far more often than the poor folk.

    How is paying restitution escaping the consequences of their actions?

  32. I’m quite willing to use violence on my own behalf if necessary. As former military I’m also willing to have the responsibility for using it delegated to me by others. I’d rather have violence authorized by an institution bound by the will of a majority of citizens since that seems historically to work much better then letting the single most outraged individual set the punishment.

    I’m rather puzzled by what “jury” you’d want me to defend my actions to if you don’t want a jury evaluating Polanski’s actions. By your system wouldn’t I be solely answerable to Polanski’s heir?

  33. You’re talking nonsense. Gailey was harmed by Polanski’s actions, not by celebrity privilege. If others are harmed in the future, it is not celebrity privilege that would do the harm, it’s the individual criminal. The place to put celebrity privilege on trial is in the court of public opinion; courts of law should stick to trying criminals.

    I am reminded of linearization in algebraic systems here, where if you have linear terms, they are independent of each other, but the slightest nonlinearities introduces coupling.

    Is ethics really so linearizable? Is celebrity privilege really something we can discard, especially in light of “pour encourager les autres”? I will grant you it should perhaps not be a large factor, but I’m not sure I can swallow the idea of such a linear ethics scheme in our nonlinear world.

  34. Society as an anthropomorphized thing with (shudder) rights, interests and needs does not exist. However society does exist, as a group of individuals choosing to live together in a specific geographic area. In order for those, who choose to live together, to benefit by this arrangement then the use of physical force must be barred from their relationships. The only way to do this is to subject any such use to open, knowable, objective law, and only to protect the rights of the individuals that make up that society. And to make it clear when I talk about rights I talk about freedom of action, not the right to a job, an appendectomy or to dictate my ISPs policies for their network, but the right to think and act according to my own judgement.

    That being said, what if the victim in this case were murdered, how would you apply your principle of let the victim decide? There must be clear objective law, and regardless of the victims emotions, thoughts or religion then justice demands Roman Polanski, if proven to be guilty, reap his reward.

  35. >I’m rather puzzled by what “jury” you’d want me to defend my actions to if you don’t want a jury evaluating Polanski’s actions. By your system wouldn’t I be solely answerable to Polanski’s heir?

    Though only injured parties would have standing to sue, I (like most libertarians) envision a system resembling Anglo-American common law in most other respects, including a jury as trier of fact (and law, for thatmatter).

  36. >That being said, what if the victim in this case were murdered, how would you apply your principle of let the victim decide?

    Standing to sue passes to the victim’s heirs, friends, and associates. In case of a dispute over who has standing, the court musst make a finding of fact in each case.

  37. >Since no human society has ever met the standard you are implicitly proposing, it seems unreasonable to demand that a stateless judicial system be perfect in this regard.

    Of course; but that doesn’t make it unreasonable to use (necessarily imperfect) achievement in this direction as one measure of a judicial system (civilization?).

    I am curious how your (entirely consistant) analysis would change if S. Gailey had died in the interim for unrelated causes (say, an auto accident) – or is that even relevent?

  38. > Standing to sue

    So our dispute is whether innocent bystanders and potential future victims have standing to sue when a crime has been committed. I believe they do, and organizing to have this done by geographic regions is a practical way to carry it out.

  39. William B. Swift:
    > How is paying restitution escaping the consequences of their actions?

    If you allot penalties solely as restitution (i.e. as compensation-for-objective-damage rule), then the wealthy can simply *buy* violence against others at will – in essence, you’d get a class system where the knights (by any other name) may rape the local village girls as long as they then pay for their dowry. (That was perfectly good law in some places at some times.) The current legal system is meant to deter this by imposing penalties that are meaningful to the offender regardless of wealth and power status (incarceration being held to be a roughly self-scaling penalty regardless of social status).

    The core problem (as I see it) is not that “they can get away with it” – esr points out aptly that “they” have always, for the most part, gotten away with it. Rape is not the point; having the wealthy spend money and power on violence against random bystanders is ugly but not in itself lethal to society. Spending money and power on violence against competitors (political, economical, etc.) is the real threat, since if it provides reliably positive feedback (money -> power -> more money), it turns society into winner-takes-(almost)-all, collapses civil society and rule of law, and turns us into a third world country in a comparative hurry.

    So it seems to me (perhaps naively) that “we” (I and you and everybody else) have a rather fundamental interest in deterring such activity as systemically weakens rule of law, regardless of the interests of those individuals who may be those primarily wronged in a given instance. I don’t see whether esr disagrees with this fundamentally, or simply believes that “society” is not a working means to achieve the goal – and if the latter, what is.

    Cheers
    — perry

  40. I believe that everyone who may ever be charged with a crime, who then will have to persuade the court that he can be trusted to appear for its proceedings, will suffer as a result of Polanski’s flight from justice. So will anyone who may ever need the police to apprehend a suspect, and the court system to determine whether he’s guilty and what his punishment should be.

    Since every one of us is a member of both of those classes, we are all victims if he is able to get away with it.

  41. “Standing to sue passes to the victim’s heirs, friends, and associates.”

    And what happens if the victim has no heirs or associates? Or if the persons who have standing, by the agreed legal rule, are also the murderers? No lawsuit will ever be brought in such cases.

  42. > Standing to sue passes to the victim’s heirs, friends, and associates. In case of a dispute over who has standing, the court musst make a finding of fact in each case.

    What if no one chooses to take on the expense or responsibility to sue, then the murderer then begins the hunt for the next victim?

    Since from the other comments you are proposing a non-central or ad-hoc justice system of some kind. Who runs this court? Who pays for it? If there are no centrally agreed upon standards or laws, what standards do they use to determine culpability? What if the person charged with a crime disagrees with the charges of the ad-hoc jury or court or even their standing to try or detain him? What if he charged criminal in this case has a different “justice group” or gang (feudal lord) who represents his interest?

    I list all these not expecting answers now, but expecting that you’ll answer them (at least implicitly) in the aforementioned future article on stateless justice.

  43. >And what happens if the victim has no heirs or associates? Or if the persons who have standing, by the agreed legal rule, are also the murderers? No lawsuit will ever be brought in such cases.

    Which is pretty much the same thing that normally happens in the tiny minority of such cases in our society.

    I’m continually amused by people who propose these weird edge cases as though our existing system handles them well. Clue: it doesn’t.

  44. “And what happens if the victim has no heirs or associates? Or if the persons who have standing, by the agreed legal rule, are also the murderers? No lawsuit will ever be brought in such cases.”

    Interesting point. What happens if somebody decides to go hunting homeless bums with no traceable family?

    Is there no case for a justice system acting ‘in loco familia’? (apologies for mutilated latin)

    Frex, I endorse the ability of ‘the state’ to have the option of imposing the death sentence in all criminal cases where the victim would have been lawfully justified in using deadly force – unless vetoed by the victim. (no, I am most adamantly not statist – please substitute whatever you deem apt for my use of the term ‘the state’)

  45. “I’m continually amused by people who propose these weird edge cases as though our existing system handles them well. Clue: it doesn’t.”

    That’s no excuse for not thinking about them.

  46. >That’s no excuse for not thinking about them.

    No. But there’s a form of bogus argument against free-market solutions I get really tired of. It’s “Hah! Your proposal does not cope with edge case X perfectly, therefore it should be dismissed” – when, in fact, our existing system handles edge case X as badly or worse. “What about murder victims who die friendless?” and “But won’t the rich just buy their way out of trouble?” are both questions of this kind.

  47. > If you feel that strongly about it. shoot him. Then make your preventive argument to a jury. They might decide he needed killing.

    I think that’s too demanding. Our current, state-administered justice system is not equipped to accommodate this sort of defense. What would happen is that jury selection would filter out anyone willing to nullify the law, and then after the trial the judge would issue jury instructions effectively demanding that you be found guilty. Even an enlightened jury could conclude that while your actions would be acceptable in a free-market justice system, the system that exists is good enough to be worth preserving, and that vigilantism is sufficiently detrimental to it that it shouldn’t be tolerated.

    Although a statement of “In ideal circumstances I’d be perfectly willing to put the bastard out of his misery, but under the current regime the risk to me is too great, so I’d rather it be carried out through state judicial channels” is very tempting as a cop-out, it can nonetheless be a valid argument.

  48. This idea of yours–damages should be determined by the victims–seems like it would fall apart in the corner cases. If you murder someone with no friends or relatives to demand the weregild, does that mean that nobody has an interest in punishing the murderer? Does this mean that while one murder may be punishable, the killer can absolve themselves by Keyser Soze’ing the entire village? (I’m handwaving a self-contained village into existence here to make a point.) Does this, in general, make orphans fair game?

    As for the concrete benefit to individuals in society from the imprisonment or other punishment of criminals, the idea is that the state prevents criminals from doing more crime; the benefit to real, individual citizens is a resultant lower crime rate. The idea is that I, and every other citizen in this country, has an interest in Roman Polanski not raping any more girls.

    whenever you treat the authority of “government” as a solvent that trumps individual rights and claims, you are no more than a breath away from odious and grinding tyranny.

    And yet, if you replace “government” with a handwavey and abstract claim about “liberty”…

  49. “But there’s a form of bogus argument against free-market solutions I get really tired of.”

    I know exactly what you’re getting at, and I agree that it’s an exasperating and tiresome non-argument.

    Highlighting edge-cases may well be purely hypothetical in many instances, but they can sometimes be instructive in highlighting weaknesses in the fabric of what we attempt to apply generally. A lot of the time, the effort required to perfect something to accommodate the edge-case simply isn’t worth it given the unlikelihood of an occurrence – it’s far more reasonable to say “we’ll deal with that when it arises”.

    The whole Polanski debacle leaves me rather speechless. His crime was so sickeningly pathetic it almost seems like a merciful blessing to execute him…but if that is not what his victim wants….

    However, I do find discussion of what constitutes ‘justice’ and whether ‘the state’ (however such an entity is defined) ever has an interest, to be very interesting.

  50. “If you murder someone with no friends or relatives to demand the weregild, does that mean that nobody has an interest in punishing the murderer?”

    I find this concept interesting because it ties ‘justice’ to some form of property rights. This seems morally hollow to me – where is the ‘wrongness’ of the offense being addressed?

  51. “If you feel that strongly about it. shoot him. Then make your preventive argument to a jury. They might decide he needed killing.

    No, I’m not being snarky. Never, ever demand that others do violence on your behalf if you’re not willing to do it yourself – because once you’ve abdicated that responsibility, tyranny and hell on earth are only a short trip further down the road.”

    At the risk of stating the obvious, but aren’t you pretty much ignoring the standard libertarian justification for the existance of the state? Namely that the state is vested with the authority for the retaliatory use of violence (distinguised from self defense). The purpose being to that the state will (hopefully) be more objective and impartial than individuals would and restrict itself to retaliation on behalf of its citizens and as a result break the tit for tat cycle of violence that you seem to be inviting here. What happens if Polanski’s heirs think shooting him was overboard? Are they then justified in taking action against his killer and even the jury that let him off? Or is that just another edge case?

    Also if the victim, or his heirs are the ones who have primacy in determining what should be done with a criminal what is the purpose of a jury?

    I’m also interested to see your attack on fallacious notions about punishment.

  52. >At the risk of stating the obvious, but aren’t you pretty much ignoring the standard libertarian justification for the existance of the state?

    No. I’m an anarchist; I don’t think that justification holds.

  53. I’m kind of excited about what’s happening now, I’ve heard today that even Scorcese signed the pro-Polanski petition. If my assumption that 95% of the people in North American & Europe are totally disgusted by it (even my own dear but misguided Socialist mother finds it totally repulsive) that could lead to the downfall of Hollywood Left as an influential force on people’s minds… imagine the next time a “progressive” movie is made millions of people think “yeah, one more work by one of those pedophile-apologists”. It could be an interesting situation. It could be even a case of poetic justice, just like Jeff said it, a group of people who no longer think either guilt or shame exists, only publicity, commiting a spectacular case of PR-suicide.

  54. “If you feel that strongly about it. shoot him. Then make your preventive argument to a jury. They might decide he needed killing.”

    Man, it seems you meant it seriously when you said you are a Henleinist, it’s totally out of The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. But other than a few interesting novels, are there any well worked-out theories justifying this sort of vigilante justice based on arbitrary personal initiative, AnCap or otherwise? I’m familiar with a few AnCap authors (Rothbard, Hoppe, Kinsela) but they never went as far as this, IMHO.

    In fact it didn’t really make sense to me when I’ve read it in TMIAHM. Sure, you shoot a rapist, his buddies shoot you, your buddies shoot his, the buddies of his buddies shoot your buddies, and before you blink twice you have a vendetta society like the old Sicily or the old Montenegro/Albania where even some women had to take up male roles (look up “sworn virgins”) because too many men killed each other in blood feuds. I hope Hatfield-McCoy rings some bells too.

  55. > ESR says: And of course no social order is conceivable without a king at its
    > head either. The year 1750 just called – it wants its prejudices back.

    There were plenty of conceivable societies that had no king at the head at that time. The Republic of Venice and Iceland come to mind.

    That being said, virtually all of the monarchies that existed in 1750, even the absolute ones, were smaller-scoped, less oppressive governments than 20th century democratic republics. I’ll take taxation without representation any day over this stupid two-party system we have that taxes us orders of magnitude more.

  56. > No; my position is that Polanski should be let go because that’s what
    > Samantha Gailey says she wants — and, as the victim of his rape,
    > hers is the only choice that I think should matter a damn.

    In a theoretical anarcho-capitalist society, that makes sense. In ours, where we have a codified and written system of laws, some of which he violated, it doesn’t. I very strongly believe that all men must be held accountable to the law of the land, absent any intrinsic injustice of that law, because if the law is not enforced uniformly, it fails to bind government, allowing it to use the law selectively, as a cudgel against those it finds inconvenient. The reason for things like stare decisis are so that the law has a certain level of predictability and stability, so one may know, by applying past cases, what is permissible and what is not under said law.

  57. Travis — Eric isn’t a minimal state libertarian, he’s an anarcho-capitalist.

    Karl Gallagher says:

    “Standing to sue

    So our dispute is whether innocent bystanders and potential future victims have standing to sue when a crime has been committed. I believe they do, and organizing to have this done by geographic regions is a practical way to carry it out.”

    I spent yesterday listening to a talk by David Friedman, author of Machinery of Freedom, which I think is one of the books Eric is drawing on to make his arguments. As well as touching on his own anarcho-capitalist, no public prosecution system, Friedman spoke on other variants of legal theory, including a nice note on Ancient Athens, which like almost every judicial system before the modern age, had a civil-only prosecution system similar to Eric’s description, except in that case the witnesses of a crime (or, we might extend, those who have other evidence to suggest the commitmal of a crime) also had standing to bring suit as well as the victim. To eliminate the risk of various third-parties suddenly swearing blind to the courts that they saw Bill Gates murder someone and perhaps he would like to settle, if the plaintiffs were unable to convince more than a third of the jury that there really was an injury, they would have to pay the costs of the case.

    I guess my point here is that Karl is right that “standing” lies at the heart of difference, but that there may be many models of how standing could work.

  58. “In fact it didn’t really make sense to me when I’ve read it in TMIAHM.”

    Didn’t make sense to Heinlein either, he was describing what sprung up in the absence of law. Manny explicitly states that his survival depends on the willingness of his family to avenge him. Without that he could be “eliminated without causing a breeze.” Utopia that ain’t.

  59. > Standing to sue passes to the victim’s heirs, friends, and associates. In
    > case of a dispute over who has standing, the court musst make a finding
    > of fact in each case.

    What if they have no heirs or friends or associates? Would it then be fully without consequence for someone to murder such a man?

  60. There is only one sustaining law, and that is natural law. We reap what we sow. All the attempts of mice & men to create a greater organization than the natural one, e.g. the concept that punishing rape will incentivize a safer society, are futile and end with the opposite effect (a fascist society). This is really just the 1856 law of thermo that says disorder is trending to maximum on the whole of the universe (it must else the universe isn’t the whole universe).

    This is why the Bible speaks very clearly about coming out of the “Great Harlot” system. I think also I figured out what the “666″ is in the Bible:

    http://goldwetrust.up-with.com/biblical-f3/how-to-come-out-of-the-great-harlot-t97.htm#1984 (<– "1984"…coincidence)

    The color blue is special in Bible (see link above) and 666 is wavelength of red, and thus due to the logic above (see link also), the 666 is the religion of flesh (blood), i.e. the concept that mice & men can insure themselves anything but a random outcome on the long-term (and the opposite outcome often in medium-term). God (the universe trend) is in control. We are not. Any attempt to trust on the long-term (outside of infinite parallel closed system, i.e. realities or perception), is futile. Close all your senses, can you count time? So does time exist? Read my website link on my name above, for more on this.

    esr, I am curious if you trust your extraordinary logic or are you resigned to random fate?

  61. I’ve thought about it and I think Karl Gallagher talks sense. From the short-run point of view, the victim may be better of being paid say five million bucks and the rapist not going to jail than when she is paid nothing and the rapist goes to jail.

    But the long-term view is different. There are a thousand potential rapists contemplating whether it worths it or not. It’s not like they are they are making full syllogistics deductions about the potential cost of rape, they are usually pretty dumb, but the incentive system is nevertheless there in the subconscious.

    If I understand it correctly, KG is making the case that if those thousand people think “if I do it, I’ll go to jail” is a better incentive system about not doing it than “if I do it, I might either negotitate a settlement or go to jail”.

    I think it makes sense.

  62. Aaron Traas,

    your argument is good, let me reformulate it in a different way in order to make it more appealing to Libertarians like ESR: the law of the land, when it’s not intrinsically unjust, must be binding to everyone exactly because when it’s not, it’s most likely that the most powerful group will escape it first, namely, government. If you want the government bound/limited by law, you must have the law strictly bind everybody without exception because if you don’t, government as the most powerful entity will be the first exception. If there is one little legal loophole for a thief to escape punishment, government will be the first thief to use it.

    ESR says: Is there anything in here you expect me to disagree with?

  63. About letting the family decide about the punishments: In some variants of Islam, women are murdered by their family because they brought “shame upon the family” – so everybody hates them. They are GLAD she is dead. No punishment then?

  64. Shelby Moore says:
    >The color blue is special in Bible (see link above) and 666 is wavelength of red,

    There is a little problem with your analysis Shelby. The wavelength of red is about 600nm-700nm, so lets take your 666. That is 666 nanometers. Meters were invented in the 1700s. In the Bible the standard unit of measure was the cubit. There are about 2.25 cubits to a meter. So the wavelength of light (assuming we accept your hue) is in face more like 296 nanocubits, or 0.000 296 cubits. That is not six hundred, three score and six. I suggest you go back to your bible. Perhaps you could work out what the letters J-E-S-S-I-C-A add up to.

  65. @ William B. Switf:

    “How is paying restitution escaping the consequences of their actions?”

    Victims typically take a settlement because they are uncertain about justice being done: they have to pick up the pieces and go on with their lives, and a cash settlement may be the best they can get. Even though it does not absolutely restore the situation they were in prior to the damage being done, and it does absolutely nothing to guarantee agains it happening again.

    Where “society” comes in to the picture is a guarding against and mitigation of externalities that are not captured in the nominal transaction cost of an action, specifically committing a crime. Most criminals commit crimes (violate other people’s rights) because they believe that they can. We all have a stake in making them believe that they cannot, whether that is through police or private security. Police and courts are meant to be a neutral observer and enforcer of contracts and rights. When contracts or rights are abrogated, they are meant to collect damages and punish the transgression (more the latter than the former, as our courts and police constantly remind us).

    It is an unfortunate truth that government becomes yet one more potential transgressor, that is why we attempt to structure it such that there are internal checks and balances.

  66. Ubik, places where that sort of thing prevails are going to stay hellholes until their culture shapes up. No system of government is going to be enough to save them.

  67. >Man, it seems you meant it seriously when you said you are a Henleinist, it’s totally out of The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

    This sort of thing is more common than you apparently know. The last instance I know of in the U.S. of a jury concluding that a murder victim “needed killing” – that is, he was incorrigibly dangerous and could not be effectively restrained by local law – happened just about three years ago. In Tennessee, if I’m recalling correctly. There may be more recent ones; we get them every once in a while in rural areas where police are underprovisioned and overstretched.

  68. Shenpen, some vendetta societies worked quite poorly indeed, but it’s worth considering why. After all, some, like Iceland, worked fairly well. (In Iceland, you could kill the murderer and let the payments cancel out. You still had to stand trial, and often got some lesser penalty, even if you were found to be in the right.) If I’m not mistaken, Sicilians and Albanians needed to take revenge themselves because their rulers couldn’t be bothered to sort out their subjects problems. One reason their system worked poorly, I conjecture, is that their rulers worked to suppress private vengeance (even while not providing public vengeance). ESR has suggested that one’s heirs would inherit the right to sue for one’s own murder, which I believe is reasonable. I understand that the Pushtun code allows one to seek vengeance on the criminal’s relatives. I don’t believe that this is reasonable, and it’s just the sort of thing which would lead to endless feuds.

    In War Before Civilization (recommended) Keeley says that hunter-gatherers have trouble making satisfactory restitution, because they’re too poor to pay any meaningful penalty! If that’s a real problem, then by implication, in our much richer society, a justice system based on restitution would work that much better.

    Aside #1: If someone without heirs was murdered, the right to sue could be homesteaded.

    Aside #2: If you lock someone up for 30 years, his upkeep has to be paid for: millions of dollars. It comes from the taxpayers, who didn’t commit the crime. A restitution based justice system would help the taxpayers who are victimized by having to pay in the cases of crimes that they did not commit.

    Aside #3: To be successful in this kind of system, you have to be a sheepdog, not a sheep. (Though, I suppose you can hire sheep dogs directly.) Nowadays, many people — like me — would be pretty leery about hunting down those who’ve wronged us. In our current system, if you’re not part of the government, being a sheepdog is suppressed. Part of why people can see themselves as pacifists is that the government provides policing for them whether they participate or not, but the government suppresses their efforts at self defense whether they would use them or not also! So saying “I would not use violence, even to defend myself” is a Stockholm-syndrome-like response to the fact that there are so many aspects of our lives where just individual violence is forbidden. (Some places are worse than others, of course.)

  69. > In War Before Civilization (recommended) Keeley says that hunter-gatherers have trouble making satisfactory restitution, because they’re too poor to pay any meaningful penalty!

    Does he address the obvious counterargument that in such societies, life itself is also correspondingly cheaper?

  70. >No. I’m an anarchist; I don’t think that justification holds.

    Yes, that is generally where I make the distinction between anarchist and libertarian and what I expected you to say. But I’m puzzled by your reference to a Anglo-American common law and a jury system then. That seems like a contradiction to me. If you deny the typical libertarian justificaion for a legal sysem how do you find your way to a common law jury as an anarchist?

  71. Jessica Boxer wrote:
    > The wavelength of red is about 600nm-700nm, so lets take your 666.

    My linked post states 666nm is roughly the weighted center frequency.

    > That is 666 nanometers. Meters were invented in the 1700s

    That is only a logical objection if the Bible is able to predict nothing.

    Errata:
    The color blue is the color of the church throughout the Bible (sapphire tablets of 10 Commandments, tassles to be worn, etc) and is missing from end times in Revelations.

    The Bible explains in numerous scriptures and parables that we should not worship or put trust in things of this world, which we perceive to be ordered reality. Spacetime is just one model of the universe, even quantum models reveal that we own no exclusivity over the reality in our arbitrary copy of spacetime, analogously spacetime modeled that the non-exclusivity in our arbitrary copy of space or time orthogonally (depends on the arbitrary observer).

    Even on the most fundamental level of our certainty that any thing we measure or perceive is not aliased error (which can be entirely opposite/random deviation from the actual signal), i.e. the Shannon-Nyquist theorem– is only able to make that insurance for imaginary **INFINITE** time signals:

    http://kwout.com/t/4qwqi9dm

    My edit to Wikipedia for this stuck:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist%E2%80%93Shannon_sampling_theorem

    “…The theorem assumes an idealization of any real-world situation, as it only applies to signals that are sampled for infinite time; any time-limited x(t) cannot be perfectly bandlimited…”

    Science is a faith. The proof is above that science is a model that is never falsefiable because we have not perceived for infinite time!

  72. “ESR has suggested that one’s heirs would inherit the right to sue for one’s own murder, which I believe is reasonable.”

    It fails when the heirs are the murderers. Contra ESR, that isn’t a “weird edge case” — gaining an inheritance is one of the more common motives for murder. And Ubik gave the example of honor killings, where a woman’s relatives kill her because she has been “dishonored”; in cultures with that concept of honor, again, such murders are not weird edge cases, but frequent events.

  73. Hello All,

    If we are to maintain a civil society, from a Libertarian perspective, we must have a means with which to effectively dissuade individuals from violating the Liberties of others in pursuit of their own.

    True Liberty requires an equal measure of responsibility from the individual in order to be generally realized within a societal context. It is called common courtesy or respect.

    Regardless of how she feels now, the woman, or child, as she was then, a seventh grader, was inducted into to very intimate adult behaviors without the means or time to choose for herself. Her essential personal Liberty was violated.

    Is there to be no consequence for this man’s actions?

    Don’t we, who believe that our Liberties are our greatest gift in this life also commit ourselves to protect the Liberties of children, until such time as they can maintain a complete grasp of what their situational choices are?

  74. “If you feel that strongly about it. shoot him. Then make your preventive argument to a jury. They might decide he needed killing.”

    What’s wrong with doing things the other way around? First bring the argument to a jury, and then kill the guy only if they agree that he needed killing. This will mostly avoid the problem of killing the guy and then finding out that he didn’t need killing after all.

    I agree with you that an anarcho-capitalist setup is better than having “Mr. Society” (or rather Mr. Government, cleverly disguised as Mr. Society) claim authority to prosecute crimes. But I think your view of who does or doesn’t have standing is too narrow. If the victim is alive and refuses to sue/press charges, then a fair case can be made against anyone else doing so (although the opposite case can also be made). But if the victim is dead or otherwise unable to act, then the argument for letting J Random Bystander claim standing becomes stronger.

    In the relatively easy case where the victim had no closer associates, J Random Bystander should be able to say “I am his friend” and claim standing. If no one does so, then I’m willing to accept that as a “well, sometimes even the best systems fail” case.

    The case where the heirs are the murderers & accomplices is hairier, but a good rule is that the murderers and accomplices can’t properly be the heir of the victim. So once again J Random Bystander should be able to come up and claim standing.

    The way I look at it, an anarchy divides “government-only powers” into “no one should be allowed to do this” and “anyone should be allowed to do this” piles. I think that standing to sue/press charges for murder and other crimes more properly belongs in the “anyone should be allowed to do this” pile.

  75. The proof is above that science is a model that is never falsefiable because we have not perceived for infinite time!

    in other words, “you can’t know, since you’ve not waited infinite time!”

    Doesn’t work that way, darling.

  76. >You’re talking nonsense. Gailey was harmed by Polanski’s actions, not by celebrity privilege. If others are harmed in the future, it is not celebrity privilege that would do the harm, it’s the individual criminal. The place to put celebrity privilege on trial is in the court of public opinion; courts of law should stick to trying criminals.

    Celebrity privilege means that individual criminals are more likely to harm others in the future. Therefore, by strengthening celebrity privilege, Polanski has harmed others. This diffuse harm could, in theory, be aggregated into a class actions suit by some entrepreneur.

    Any harm done by prosecuting under the current system is done not to Polanski, but to those individuals whose standing to sue has been appropriated by the state.

    In practice I think transaction costs would be too high for the market to solve this, so I would prefer the state to do the aggregating. So long as there’s plenty of sunshine to keep it from festering.

  77. ESR– I agree with you that there is no such thing as “society,” in the specified context. But after some thought I cannot agree with you that no one other than the victim could possibly have a valid interest in seeing Polanski punished.

    As a father of young daughters, I want to see child-rapists[1] punished even if their victims demur (for whatever idiosyncratic reasons, including possible fear of publicity or retribution) in order to deter other people from committing rapes of children. That is, I want to establish some deterrence which is not conditional on whatever wishes a victim may express post-facto. I want anyone contemplating the rape of my child to fear serious punishment.

    So while “society” does not exist, I and others with similar concerns do. Seeing that the victim complained enough back in the day to get Polanski prosecuted, I want to see the matter followed up so as to deter potential child-rapists who might otherwise think they need only hide out for a while after their crimes to escape punishment (especially since many child victims might greatly fear publicity after they grow to adulthood and learn that some people shun victims rather than criminals!).

    If Polanski denied the crime we might have a problem punishing him for it now, because the victim might refuse to testify (and under such circumstances I would let the matter drop). But Polanski admitted the crime at the time and on other occasions later. So we are sure of his guilt— we are only unsure what punishment we should apply. Even with a legal system primarily focused on restitution I think we would impose a very severe fine (and maybe a flogging or mutilation) because only a substantial punishment can produce a deterrent effect.[2] Of course in the (greatly flawed) legal system we actually have, the main choice is how long to imprison Polanski.

    [1] I distinguish matters involving children because I do think adult victims hold any rights of action against assailants, but the situation is different with children. The boundary between child and adult may not be as sharp as we’d like, but certainly those well above or below it require distinct treatment. (Heinlein once suggested we should count anyone able to support himself as an adult.) At any rate, the guardian of a child (or other dependent) has the right as well as the duty to defend his/her charge, and I think that right extends to action to deter or preëmpt serious threats, not merely to react after damage has been done.

    [2] “Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy… the fear to attack,” said Dr. Strangelove. Restitution could not be the sole goal of an effective legal regime, because perfect restitution would (by definition) only just compensate the victim for his/her exact loss. That is not enough to produce deterrence, because likely criminals will discount the expected (negative) value of any restitution they might be forced to pay if caught by their (often over-optimistic) estimate of the likelihood of being caught. So if a criminal proposed to do harm worth $X, and s/he expected, say, a 20% chance of being caught, s/he would be deterred only in the amount of $(X/5), which is likely insufficient. Any effective legal regime must exact punishment which exceeds mere restitution.

  78. MB>And what happens if the victim has no heirs or associates? Or if the persons who have standing, by the agreed legal rule, are also the murderers? No lawsuit will ever be brought in such cases.

    ESR>Which is pretty much the same thing that normally happens in the tiny minority of such cases in our society.

    ESR>I’m continually amused by people who propose these weird edge cases as though our existing system handles them well. Clue: it doesn’t.

    Dan>Interesting point. What happens if somebody decides to go hunting homeless bums with no traceable family?

    Not that I agree with your position regards Polanski, but the corner case of homeless/bums being killed is a red herring. The penalty in our society can be as light as “a stern warning” and a traffic ticket:

    http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/article1002474.ece

  79. Here’s my own argument to those who say “society” is a myth because it’s so hard to define. Well, it might be hard to define, but Society is definitely not a myth. It’s a word to express a very real, very tangible idea of collective consciousness of belonging. Collective rights do exist and every individual in society (there we go again) seek their individual rights in the pool of collective rights already defined. In an authoritarian society, such a pool of collective rights does not exist so therefore individuals have to find other means to assert their individuality or be supressed into submission.

    You see, just because a concept is “hard to define” doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. people who argue here that society does not exist or does not have rights are misguided.

    The expectation that my neighbourhood or my city is a peaceful place where I can go out for a walk and not expect to be mugged or attacked is a societal right. It’s both an individual right as against society as well as a collective, common expectation that such a situation will be guaranteed to exist.

    Until then, the State, for the lack of a better alternative, will have to enforce criminal law, at the very least. Without a state-sponsored criminal justice system there is a real chance that law and order will break down and lead to a situation where victims of crimes will be bullied and harrassed into withdrawing their claims against the offenders.

    I repeat: until EACH and EVERY individual has full respect for the rule of Law and submits to its procedures, nothing but a public enforcement of penalties against crime will work. Arguing otherwise, no matter how many buzzwords or jargon you use, is ridiculous and totally contrary to common sense.

  80. Shenpen:

    Thanks. I’m very libertarian-leaning myself, but often have difficulty putting my thoughts into words. What you wrote is far closer to what I was trying to say than I actually said.

  81. ESR, I find your argument to be noble and ultimately untenable. I also think your conclusion does not necessarily derive from the argument.

    I’ll try to explain, though I’m not nearly as articulate as you are. I do apologize for the length. I tried and failed to further shorten my response.

    First of all, I refute the claim that society is “a floating abstraction with no actual referent”. To be more precise, I believe the term “society” can be likened to Wittgenstein’s “game”: a floating abstraction with an actual, but indefinable, referent. Or put differently, there is such a thing as society, and though nobody can quite say where it starts and where it ends, everybody can identify it when they see it. And even if your claim is true, that there is no “actual referent”, people certainly believe there is and, more importantly, they act accordingly and expect certain things of that society. In other words, even if you’re completely right, people still believe in the social contract in which the judicial system in today’s United States plays such a major role. I would argue that anarchists and libertarians also believe (very strongly) in “society”, but define the social contract differently; they prefer a more intimate and communal society and distrust enforcement and judicial “systems”.

    But one thing all members of any society have in common is the (usually implicit) recognition that they are bound, willing or otherwise, by that contract. Even you, esr, turned to local law enforcement and the FBI when you were threatened by Ahmadinejad et al sympathizers (cronies?) during the recent uprisings in Iran.

    Both Roman Polanski and Samantha Geimer implicitly defer to this same contract. They were both members of this society when Polanski committed his crime. Polanski knew it was a crime when he committed it. He submitted to the legal system and participated (even if unwillingly, like most criminals). In fleeing, he violated not only Geimer but the social contract in which he believed and participated, as well as the trust of the stupid judge that permitted him to fly overseas. Worse yet, he fled the US to Europe, which shares a similar social contract. It’s kind of like asking mother for permission after father said no. He did not flee to Bolivia, for example, or Iran, which have clearly different social mores (asking the neighbor after father said no?). Moreover, he has been petitioning the US legal system to drop the charges, not because he’s innocent or because any doubt may exist, but because of the incredible claim that it’s not in the State of California’s interest to expose possible misconduct in the handling of the original case.

    So here’s the basic flaw in the argument. You may be an anarchist, but Polanski and Geimer certainly are not. By their shared principles of justice and morals, he is a criminal. They both believe in the legal system that initially tried the case and generally abide by it. They both believe (know!) Polanski is guilty. They both believe he has escaped justice. Polanski also seems to believe in impunity, that is, that he should continue to escape justice. However, Geimer does not believe in his impunity; she has very different reasons for letting him go, primarily psychological and escapist. But make note, her reasons, precisely because they are escapist (letting the past go and all that) underscore the need for justice to be done in this case and the untold number of similar brutal violations of human dignity that afflict modern society. Her relinquishing justice is an example of dehumanization that results in too many of these cases. It is a clear demonstration of the continuing onslaught of injustice by Polanski. It’s very similar to a Mexican or Chinese sweatshop employee claiming they have terrific working conditions and an excellent salary. The place for Geimer to say that she would like to let him go is in court, before a judge or a jury. I’m confident that this will be considered in Polanski’s favor as one factor among many.

    Part of the social contract in practice in the US and Europe today delegates the responsibility of defending the weak to the government and its various agencies. Geimer’s statement that she wishes to let it go has no bearing on the responsibility the social contract places on the government NOT to let it go. Furthermore, the government is equally responsible for ensuring the perpetrator’s interests are not unduly violated. For example, we trust the legal system not to put Polanski to death for his crimes, and more, to consider his health, commitments, references and (vitally in this case) his history when determining the punishment.

    So to summarize, Polanski is holding himself to a double standard and would like (as he did 3 decades ago) to determine his own (easy) fate. I’m not so sure he would have given the Mansons the same leave he has taken for himself. More importantly, Samanta Geimer has been cowed into submission, and doing what she “says she wants” in this case serves only to enforce that submission and empower other would-be perpetrators. And finally, the pink elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about, is that the legal system knows how to try cases such as this and is entrusted with weighing all the circumstances and wishes of the involved parties, as well as those of the larger, actual, society, it represents.

  82. @hari
    >I repeat: until EACH and EVERY individual has full respect for the rule of Law and submits to its procedures, nothing but a public enforcement of penalties against crime will work. Arguing otherwise, no matter how many buzzwords or jargon you use, is ridiculous and totally contrary to common sense.

    Private enforcement has worked in the past. Your argument is the semi-intellectual equivalent of a 2-year old sticking his fingers in his ears and saying “I can’t hear you”. If you actually think you are making a real argument, lawyers are not only sleazy, but apparently even stupider than I thought.

  83. Let’s simplify the whole argument in favour of State-controlled prosecution:

    1. Some individuals simply cannot afford private litigation to pursue justice for crimes (I repeat: Crimes) committed against them. The State will have to step in until we reach a Utopian situation where every individual is more or less aware of his/her rights and has equal power and opportunity to enforce them.
    2. It is NECESSARY for people contemplating crime to have a wholesome fear of consequences APART from the vindictive nature of individual victims or the compensatory nature of civil action.
    3. In a word: Organized crimes and gangs. Nothing but the power of the State or its agents can bring down organized crime. Individuals can and will resist from time to time, but the fear of individual lawsuits is not going to put fear into the hearts of gangs. Only state-sponsored action against crime can and will have the desired effects.

  84. > Private enforcement has worked in the past.
    In which universe do you live?

    Have you actually lived in a country where things might be highly different from the US or Europe?

    Have you lived in a country where the majority of the population are living in poverty?

    I don’t resort to name-calling, so I think you’ve just shot yourself in the foot there with your blanket statements with no proof.

  85. Jake Fischer wrote:
    > Shelby wrote
    >> The proof is above that science is a model that is never falsefiable because we have not perceived for infinite time!
    >
    > in other words, “you can’t know, since you’ve not waited infinite time!”
    >
    > Doesn’t work that way, darling.

    Wrong, that is TRUEly the way signal theory works. We will ***NEVER*** know if what we experience, measure, and perceive (whether it be with our own senses or devices) is an aliased artifact of the TRUE signal. And thus science is faith and not falsefiable.

    I have debated the signal theory editors (experts) who maintain the Wikipedia entry, and they allowed my edit.

    You need to understand that Shannon-Nyquist theorem shows that portions of the TRUE signal which lie outside your sampling interval can totally change the reconstruction if they are not sampled. And Wikipedia is wrong to emphasize that limited sampling intervals are a good approximation in most cases. In fact, mathematically the theorem tells us that we simply do not know how good our approximation is until we wait infinite time. Just because our observed reality matches our expectations for a while (seems ordered and seems to be a good approximation), says nothing about how we will view it in hindsight.

    Study the math. Educate yourself about this. It is the most important thing you will ever learn. You can then stop the nonsense about science is falsefiable and religion is not.

  86. John wrote:
    > If we are to maintain a civil society, from a Libertarian perspective,
    > we must have a means with which to effectively dissuade individuals
    > from violating the Liberties of others in pursuit of their own

    Each individual could protect his/her own liberties, i.e. anarchy. Once you abrogate this to the state, then you end up with no liberty at all at the end of the periodic exponential cycle between statism and anarchy.

    noam wrote:
    > ESR, I find your argument to be noble and ultimately untenable

    Indeed for people to exist, they need society, and I explained this Bell Curve phenomenon:

    http://www.coolpage.com/commentary/economic/shelby/Bell%20Curve%20Economics.html

    Lock yourself in a 100% dark, soundproof, body temperature room where you can not use any of your physical senses. Come out after some days/weeks and tell me what the time and date are?

    You can’t. You didn’t exist. Read my prior post. Start to think deeply about these matters. It affects your faith (what you believe in).

  87. @Daniel Franke: “Honor killings” like I described already happen quite often in Europe. This scenario isn’t some weird edge case, it is real and serious.

    In a victim-based law system, the obvious case of the victim being dead (or otherwise incapable of expressing his or her judgement) isn’t solved at all.

    When you redefine the “real” victims to be friends and relatives, you don’t solve the problem. Who counts as friend and family? Why is the punishment of the murderer dependent on the opinions of some strangers? A system like that comes down to tribalism again.

  88. Shelby Moore wrote:
    > Lock yourself in a 100% dark, soundproof, body temperature room…

    98.6F wouldn’t be that comfortable. And I suppose one could train themselves to count seconds in their mind with an accurate rhythm, but hopefully you get my point, that each of us does not exist relative to some events occurring outside our perception (and of being perceived by others). There are near infinite realities occurring simultaneously all the time here on Earth even.

    There is a verse in the Bible (Corinthians I think) where the people are advised not to have a king (a govt) because it will steal all your donkeys and everything in time, but the people demand it any way.

    The Bible seems to be making one central point, and that is there is no salvation in our reality. I have developed scientifically that our reality is futile, because it is just a figment of our temporal perception. Resonance is the syncing of mutual perception (communication). These things (order) do occur in closed-systems, but they are always fleeting. And this is exactly the wisdom of the Bible, that everything of this earth is temporary.

    So the debate over statism versus is anarchy is also a waste of time. When Jesus was asked about this, he said “render unto Caesar what is his and render unto God what is his” or something like that. Even the often quoted Romans 13 is misinterpreted by most. Reading it carefully, it says the evil power must obey the good power in time. In short, all the machinations of mice & men are luckly never sustainable.

    Now on to more productive endeavors… (there is no such thing on the universe scale, but Bible tells us to be productive here on earth, be efficient, plant a whole acre, and generally help the trend towards the end times so we can break down this order called on earth towards the random nirvana). I simply came here to suggest not to waste your time on arguments about machinations of mice & men. Get busy being productive on helping those in need or who can’t yet see the light of the futility of the flesh.

  89. > I’m continually amused by people who propose these weird edge cases as though our existing system handles them well. Clue: it doesn’t.

    And I’m continually amused by American people who suggest that their society is unfree, corrupt, racist, unjust or in some other way deeply flawed. In most other places we are still struggling to embrace democracy.

  90. Apologies for multiple posts, will try to make this last one.

    I googled to see what others are writing about “Scientific Faith”.

    Follows an example of aliasing error due not sampling at a high enough frequency or long enough duration. I think this an interesting analog to simplicity of spacetime which didn’t hold true for the more complex quantum level sampling granularity:

    http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0012fea1.asp

    “But using this process of induction alone, the scientist can never assert truths with absolute certainty. No great number of white swans could rule out the possibility that the next swan could be black. Consequently, the scientist often constructs his hypothesis so that it can be verified and tested through experimentation. The experiment is then thought to confirm or dismiss the hypothesis.

    But even this safeguard cannot guarantee the truth of scientific conclusions. This is illustrated by a simple example used by the philosopher Richard Swinburne (Simplicity as Evidence of Truth, . Marquette University Press [1997], 15–19). Let us say that a scientist is analyzing data composed of four pairs of numbers, the first number in each set being designated “x” and the second “y”: (1,2), (2,4), (3,6), and (4,8). He wants to determine the relationship between the first and the second numbers in the series where x increases by 1 and y increases by 2.

    Using induction, he compares the pairs of numbers and proposes that y = 2x. It is a reasonable hypothesis, but he resorts to more testing and comes up with two more pairs of numbers, (5,10) and (6,12). They seem to confirm his hypothesis, and he rejoices. What is not usually realized, however, is that this series of paired numbers can be adequately explained by an infinite number of alternate equations of the form y = 2x + x(x-1)(x-2)(x-3)(x-4)(x-5)(x6)z, where z can be a constant or another function of x. No further testing and collecting of data would be able to distinguish between these alternative equations and the basic equation y = 2x.”

    Another interesting point is how Christian faith is to reject (come out of Great Harlot) the commonly accepted “wisdom” and empirical evidence of the current epoch; whereas, scientific faith says to rely on the empirical evidence…well Shannon-Nyquist didn’t say that, but scientists apparently ignored the implication of that theorem:

    http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/gazette/previousissues/54vol2/Part3

    ” 1. Scientific faith — we believe a proposed hypothesis only because it is supported by the evidence and has survived attempts to disconfirm it, and we reject it if the evidence opposes it.
    2. Theological faith — to survive a test of faith means to hold fast to one’s belief even when everything goes against it.”

  91. @esr
    In your main post you make a limited claim, which at least in theory should work even in the current type of government: that only the victim (or her representative/successor) may decide if and what the penalty should be. You suggest, and I agree, that what sets apart criminal cases from civil ones is that the former are perceived as harming the “society”. You also make the valid point that society as a person is a mere convention which either lacks meaning (case b) or refers collectively to a set of individuals (case a). Because case b should not be allowed, you argue in favor of abolishing the distinction between civil and criminal cases, except for the penalty imposed on the guilty party, which is no longer limited to money.

    However I still have doubts that for all crimes “society” has the (b) meaning. When it does, of course, they ought to be decriminalized. But there are cases when I think “society” has ther (a) meaning and stands for a smaller or wider number of John and Jane Does, unidentified or unidentifiable victims.

    For instance, does it make sense to let would-be criminals walk free until they commit a violent crime, even when there is hard evidence of their criminal intent? If it doesn’t, what can we do if the potential criminal has planned the deed without singling out a certain individual as the victim and only decided to act against any John/Jane Doe at a certain location? For instance, if a robber is caught before assaulting anyone, who can lodge a suit against him/her?

    A similar, non-fringe case: repeat offenders. We now for instance that a certain gentleman has a preference for non-consensual sex. We know it because he already did it once, but after the fact his originally unwilling partner accepted that an affordable amount of money was sufficient compensation. Should he be allowed to walk until his next victim is no longer a theoretical Jane Doe, but an actual lady so deeply maimed by her non-consensual intercourse with the gentleman that no compensation or punishment seems fit to her?

    Also consider professional criminals: thieves, con men etc. Under your system they should be liable only to their victims. However, if they are competent, they will seldom get caught, and thus will afford to settle in those few cases. The number of people incurring a loss and unable to identify the criminal will be higher than it is with the current system.

    There are other cases in criminal law where it can be argued that “society” stands for a smaller or wider number of unidentified members of the community, but as you said the current system itself is far from perfect, and therefore alternatives need not be perfect themselves.

  92. Eric’s argument that Gailey’s decision is the only one that matters because she was the victim is internally consistent in the sense the Eric seems to be aware of the assumptions he is making and the consequences should his opinion become reality.

    I’m challenging one of the assumptions of the argument (at least I’m assuming it is an assumption) that decisions by individuals close to and/or directly affected by the subject at hand are the best ones to make the decisions in order to create the ‘best’ society in the way that a freedom loving individual would define ‘best’.

    In many cases, this assumption is true. In this particular case I’m not so sure it is. The idea that actual criminals are punished, regardless of the wishes of the victim, as a deterrent to other criminals, is a good argument, plain and simple, and the direct victim is often NOT rational about it due to the emotional consequences of the crime. In order to say criminal law as a deterrence is a bad thing, you either have to argue:

    1. That deterrence is bad, or will most often lead to an even greater evil, or
    2. That any society that had the power to deter in this way is bad (not because of deterrence but for some other reason) and that allowing a society to deter criminals is kind of ‘giving in’ to such a society, or something like that.

    I’ve seen Eric hint at these arguments, but he hasn’t actually made any. It is probably the subject of a whole other post. At any rate, I don’t agree with 1 or 2, at least not 100%.

    While it is true that a any state run by human beings tends toward corruption over time, it might be very possible for a very limited government to still employ a criminal justice system (not just a civil justice system). Actual criminals are punished and future criminals are deterred. The criminal owes restitution to the victim, but I don’t see why the state owes the victim any more deference then that. After the victim has received whatever restitution they deserve, their part is over. How the state and the criminal are associated after that is a matter between the criminal and society in general. If you don’t believe society should have anything to do with the criminal after restitution, then you have to argue that ‘deterrence’ and anything else that might come with any kind of society that could implement criminal law isn’t worth it.

  93. Hi. Thank you for your engaging posts.

    Society does exist – just take a walk outside and look at all the people! There’s your “society”. Say “hi” to them.

    We don’t want girls raped, so we pass laws against it. A rapist *should* be punished – that is not only a penalty for that particular rape instance, but an action against rape in general.

  94. Shelby Moore said:

    > Lock yourself in a 100% dark, soundproof, body temperature room where you can not use any of your > physical senses. Come out after some days/weeks and tell me what the time and date are?
    >
    > You can’t. You didn’t exist.

    This is pure nonsense. Sense deprivation is a very far cry from cessation of existence. Existence is not an empty set; it is no set whatsoever. Sense deprivation does not cause time to “change modes”, it just blurs our perception of it. More, the body continues to sense but our brain is unable to distinguish changes in the surroundings.

    Even the most absurd solipsistic philosophers wouldn’t claim that if a tree fell in a forest and no one was there to hear it, that the tree did not exist.

  95. > I’m continually amused by people who propose these weird edge cases as though our existing system handles them well. Clue: it doesn’t.

    I think there is a common thread that unites all these “weird edge cases”: There is no guaranty, or even a pretense of one, that the victim will be represented or able to carry out retribution or any other form of “justice”. Essentially, the victim has no recourse.

    This also correlates to the flip case. There is no way to guaranty that justice is meted out in proportion to the crime. Not to mention the impossibility of tracking and correcting errors in justice. In theory, anarchism may be self-correcting, but when the fit hits the shan (as they say), there is nothing to guaranty the punishment will not be worse than the original crime. Who is to say whether a legitimate punishment for a pickpocket should be a simple “beating up”, a flogging, torture, dismemberment or death?

    All western legal systems, and some others as well, provide this kind of oversight (some better and some less so). They provide all kinds of protections besides, the most common and effective being a legal codex and the existence of some kind of arbitrator – a third party (usually a judge) – whose role is to balance the interests of the involved parties and of society.

    That our current system does not handle them well is not really your argument. Rather your argument is that you can offer a better alternative. That is definitely arguable. I would suggest that any social system can be measured, among other factors, by the degree to which it protects those unable to protect themselves. And disdaining the “edge cases” that usually represent the weaker members of our society certainly does not shed a positive light on your alternative.

  96. I will have to post one last time in this thread.

    > Shelby Moore said:
    >> Lock yourself in a 100% dark, soundproof, body temperature room where you can not use any of your
    >> physical senses. Come out after some days/weeks and tell me what the time and date are?
    >>
    >> You can’t. You didn’t exist.

    noam wrote:
    > This is pure nonsense. Sense deprivation is a very far cry from cessation of existence.
    > Existence is not an empty set; it is no set whatsoever.
    > Sense deprivation does not cause time to “change modes”,
    > it just blurs our perception of it. More, the body continues to sense
    > but our brain is unable to distinguish changes in the surroundings.
    >
    > Even the most absurd solipsistic philosophers wouldn’t claim that
    > if a tree fell in a forest and no one was there to hear it, that the tree did not exist.

    The TRUE signal that exists orthogonal to any perception of it, can not be perceived according to the Shannon-Nyquist theorem, because unless we sample for infinite time, then we can never be sure of the degree of aliasing error in our reconstructed perception (aka measurement):

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1271&cpage=2#comment-240672
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1271&cpage=2#comment-240650

    Thus Shannon-Nyquist is a model that nothing exists that isn’t perceived (because we can not perceive the TRUE signals ever, because we can not sample for infinite time) and that everything that is perceived is an aliased error.

    Sorry but the whole scientific method is an illusion (and as Einstein said about our empirical observation of death, “but a very convincing one”). I hope you realize that you are implicitly arguing that Shannon-Nyquist (the fundamental theorem of signaling theory) is an absurd model.

    I hope you also realize from the complex plane of the Lorentz equations that Einstein used to derive spacetime theory, that time is not the absolute in our universe (it is not the independent variable). Spacetime is merely one model, that is broke and improved upon space orthogonal to time, which was then broken and improved upon by quantum theory.

    The earth was flat, the earth was the center of the universe, space and time were orthogonal dimensions, time was an absolute, … and it was absurd to disagree… Are you starting to see why Christian faith is about always disagreeing with the “theory of the epoch”?

  97. “I have debated the signal theory editors (experts) who maintain the Wikipedia entry, and they allowed my edit.”

    Well, that about wraps it up for me….if the experts have agreed with you, I’m sold. End of debate.

    Time for a nice fried egg on toast.

  98. > The TRUE signal that exists orthogonal to any perception of it, can not be perceived according to the
    > Shannon-Nyquist theorem, because unless we sample for infinite time, then we can never be sure of
    > the degree of aliasing error in our reconstructed perception (aka measurement)

    I barely understand the Shannon-Nyquist Theorem and I understand your pseudo-religious application of it even less.

    But it doesn’t take a lot intelligence to realize that what you’re claiming is similar to an ostrich sticking his head in the sand.

    And this theorem does not represent the first claim that the “TRUE” object/signal/whatever cannot be perceived by the senses. Pyrrho said as much over 2000 years ago, as did Kant a bit more recently.

    > The earth was flat, the earth was the center of the universe, space and time were orthogonal
    > dimensions, time was an absolute, … and it was absurd to disagree… Are you starting to see
    > why Christian faith is about always disagreeing with the “theory of the epoch”?

    You’re confusing scientific claims with the scientific method. The method is a process and by definition unfalsifiable (this is a “category error”) just like statements of faith. And science makes falsifiable claims. It produces theories, not truths.

  99. I have a pretty good idea of how fast my beard grows from having shaved it off for 27 years.

    A sensory deprivation chamber that lets me touch my face also lets me deduce, to within a day or so, how long I’ve been in it.

    Quod Erot Demonstratum, I do not exist out of time in a sensory deprivation chamber.

  100. esr,

    The basis for the state prosecuting criminals, instead of leaving it to the victims to bring their own actions, is that the crime is in some sense against the community,society or whatever collective term one might use. Or to put it another way, the population agrees on certain rules and then punishes those who break them.

    Why the population might want this is fairly clear:people generally want law breakers punished even if they weren’t the victim and have no direct involvement. They certainly do not want offenders to buy their way out of prison by compensating the victim.

    So the reason why ‘society’ might want to punish Polanski or any other offender is perfectly clear. There might be a better way of expressing it than invoking an abstract entity, but that is merely a form of shorthand.

  101. Hi Folks,

    In my previous post I used the word dissuade to describe a reasonable societal objective regarding the behaviors and concurrent violations perpetrated by Mr. Polanski.

    I did this in order to imply that once this deed has been done, and as with many other predatory crimes, there is nothing that can be done to make the victim whole in every sense.

    If punishment and deterrence are our only options, can you not see that we are engaged in a perpetual yet fruitless task?

    I later introduced the concept of personal responsibility. This was not without cause.

    For if we are not to fall back to anarchy, or succumb to the tyranny of statism, we must embrace the concept of civil responsibility.

    In earlier times Mr. Polanski’s actions could have been accommodated by an exchange of livestock or treasure. This does not deter future violence but only places a price on it.

    My fervent hope is that we can evolve.

    In the general political spectrum, I am most kin to the Constitutionalist/Libertarian vein. Yet I do not view Libertarianism as an everything goes proposition.

    We must accept as a society reasonable constraints on behaviors that violate the Liberties of others. A perfect example the type would be Mr. Polanski’s violation of this young girl.

    If we wish to realize our personal Liberties within a cooperative societal context we must be willing to protect the Liberties of all, in a preemptive sense. That is , before the fact.

    Now that is something to gnaw on.

  102. In a contest between the powerful and the relatively powerless, it is commonplace that the victims say they do not want the criminals punished.

    Did the Kopechnes want Teddy punished? I’m sure they did, but they went out of their way to prevent an autopsy, and never pursued justice for their daughter’s killer.

    I’m sure that Al Capone’s victim’s families wanted justice for their loved ones, but were intimidated into silence by the threat inherent in his ruthless use of his power.

    In a felony case, the victim does not need to “Press Charges”; the prosecutor makes the decision to proceed or not regardless of the wishes of the victim. This is as it should be – lest the powerful run roughshod over the little people.

    In the trial, it was “The People of the State of California vs Roman Polanski” – the victim’s neighbors coming to her aid instead of letting her stand alone against her rapist. This is as it must be if there is to be any semblance of equality before the law for all of us.

  103. > Shelby Moore wrote:
    >> The TRUE signal that exists orthogonal to any perception of it, can not be perceived according to the
    >> Shannon-Nyquist theorem, because unless we sample for infinite time, then we can never be sure of
    >> the degree of aliasing error in our reconstructed perception (aka measurement)

    noam replied:
    >I barely understand the Shannon-Nyquist Theorem and
    > I understand your pseudo-religious application of it even less.

    The fact that nearly no one understands it, apparently not even the editors at Wikipedia (but they did yield to logic after several days of debate and hashing it out, so kudos to them), is why we have this nonsense about science being based on TRUTH (empirical evidence) and Christianity being based on fairy tales. Actually if you understand Shannon-Nyquist, you realize that science is a faith also, for the reasons I have previously stated. All science is inherently relying on Shannon-Nyquist, because evidence does not exist until it is sampled.

    Understand that Shannon-Nyquist says we can model the TRUE signal with INFINITE duration sine waves, and thus it tells us mathematically the relationship between the samples number, spacing, and sampling interval, to the quality of our reconstruction (i.e. how sure we are that our reconstructed perception gives us any non-random information about the TRUE signal).

    > But it doesn’t take a lot intelligence to realize that what you’re claiming
    > is similar to an ostrich sticking his head in the sand.

    Actually it does take some knowledge of Shannon-Nyquist (and I suggest you go learn it) to understand that the ostrich is the person who claims that empirical evidence is not faith.

    > And this theorem does not represent the first claim that
    > the “TRUE” object/signal/whatever cannot be perceived by the senses.

    It most certainly does! The theorem explicitly states it applies only to INFINTE time signals, and thus implies mathematically that the quality of the reconstruction is random if the sampling interval is not INFINITE. You must understand that to switch off the sine waves of the model (at the bounds of our sampling interval) will create INFINITE frequency harmonics, thus the entire theorem falls apart.

    > Pyrrho said as much over 2000 years ago, as did Kant a bit more recently.

    Apparently they are also ignorant of the above.

    >> The earth was flat, the earth was the center of the universe, space and time were orthogonal
    >> dimensions, time was an absolute, … and it was absurd to disagree… Are you starting to see
    >> why Christian faith is about always disagreeing with the “theory of the epoch”?
    >
    > You’re confusing scientific claims with the scientific method.

    No I showed mathematically that scientific claims are faith.

    > The method is a process and by definition unfalsifiable (this is a “category error”)
    > just like statements of faith. And science makes falsifiable claims.

    They are not falsefiable, because the evidence is random. See above for why.

    For periods of time, the evidence may appear to be ordered, but we are deceived. This local order in closed systems is what gives rise to trust in things which are random on the larger scale outside. This trust is what makes people forget that the Shannon-Nyquist says all the efforts of mice & men are random. This randomness is outside the scale of the local order which just andomly happens to be not random for some random amount of time. Here is an example. The flea doesn’t know he is living on the back of animal who is moving relative to the ground, so this deception can go on for a while, until the animal jumps into a pool of water due to a random cat fight.

    > It produces theories, not truths.

    Thanks for finally agreeing with me.

    Ken Burnside wrote
    > I have a pretty good idea of how fast my beard grows
    > from having shaved it off for 27 years.

    Not if I deprive your senses (ability to touch it and feel it’s weight on your face).

  104. No one here ever said that any discovery yielded by science was anything but tentative. Matter of fact, science is the worst possible system for ascertaining truth — except for all the others.

  105. >The theorem explicitly states it applies only to INFINTE time signals, and thus implies mathematically that the quality of the reconstruction is random if the sampling interval is not INFINITE. You must understand that to switch off the sine waves of the model (at the bounds of our sampling interval) will create INFINITE frequency harmonics, thus the entire theorem falls apart.

    Nope. Not random. Only unknown. Please demonstrate it mathematically if you think it is. I would think that there is a computable margin of error during the observed period. And note that having a infinite observed period is worthless, we need results only for a limited observed period.

  106. Jeff Read wrote:
    > No one here ever said that any discovery yielded by science was anything but tentative.

    Cool. But that is not what I read and here out there in the world. Mostly Christians get attacked by atheists as “believing in fairy tales”, and I am just retorting with “scientists do too”.

    > Matter of fact, science is the worst possible system for ascertaining truth — except for all the others.

    “except for all the others”…perhaps you still do not get it:

    Science is no less random, when you are speaking about universal TRUTH (TRUE non-random signals on the universal scale). If you are merely speaking about being able to cope in the current shared perception (the tentative local order), then yes science gives you one way to cope or perform. I certainly do, even I am not an atheist. However, it is not the best (it is still based on random result on some unknown apriori time scale), it is just one way. Another tool is Christianity, which also gives a very good set of concepts to deal with the random change that blind faith in science does not cope well with. In fact, Jesus said use both methods, “render unto Caesar what is his, and render unto God what is his” or something like that, I don’t have time to go dig up the exactly scripture quote. The Bible is a philosophy, that explains how to cope with Shannon-Nyquist and Bell Curve Economics.

    Actually it is important to participate and maximize that local order (as the Bible implores us to do, “plant a whole acre”, “be efficient”), because exponential growth, peak, and decay on the local scale is the optimization of the 1856 law of thermo’s trend to maximum disorder on the universal scale. Again review the Bell Curve Economics paper linked to my name on my prior comments in this thread. I writing about this today relative to Google here:

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=658&cpage=2#comment-240732

    > noam wrote:
    > And this theorem does not represent the first claim that
    > the “TRUE” object/signal/whatever cannot be perceived by the senses.

    Shelby replied:
    > It most certainly does! The theorem explicitly states it applies only to INFINTE time signals,
    > and thus implies mathematically that the quality of the reconstruction is random if the
    > sampling interval is not INFINITE. You must understand that to switch off the sine waves
    > of the model (at the bounds of our sampling interval) will create INFINITE frequency
    > harmonics, thus the entire theorem falls apart.

    And for those who do not want to wade through the debate I had over there at Wikipedia, let me just pre-emptly squash the common retort about Shannon-Nyquist being orthogonal to the pre-filter (which may be an analog device). The bottom line is the pre-filter (even it is analog) has to sample for INFINITE time also. There is no way to escape the INFINITE time requirement.

    Dan wrote:
    > Nope. Not random. Only unknown. Please demonstrate it mathematically if you think it is.
    > I would think that there is a computable margin of error during the observed period.

    Aliasing is random noise that occurs from insufficient sampling. Most people don’t realize that Shannon-Nyquist requires not only a minimum sampling frequency (2 x higher harmonic in TRUE signal), but also requires an infinite sampling interval. Without the infinite sampling interval, you get aliasing errors, which are random, and can yield a result (aka reconstruction/perception/measurement) which is nothing like the original TRUE signal. The errors get projected into the reconstruction as noise. You apparently do not understand well this math (maybe you do not understand fourier transform and concept of bandlimited infinite time signals, i.e. by definition no finite signal could be bandlimited), so I refer you to the 1952 Shannon-Nyquist paper which is linked at the Wikipedia page. I had already explained why in my previous post, where I explained that the model of sampling and reconstruction deals with infinite sine wave reconstruction…

    > And note that having a infinite observed period is worthless, we need results only for a limited observed period.

    That is why measurements are faith.

  107. > Not if I deprive your senses (ability to touch it and feel it’s weight on your face).

    If you deprive him of his senses, he won’t know if he exists but you will.

    Also, doesn’t this randomness obsolete the math and logic behind your proof anyway.

  108. I also know that if I let my beard grow more than 4-5 days, it itches considerably. After about a week and a half it’s gotten long enough that it doesn’t itch.

    When I came out of the sensory dep chanber, I’d be able to use that as a decent metric of how long I’ve been in it.

    Therefore, I do not exist outside of time when I am cut off from my senses, for if I did, I would have no other indicators of time passing to reconcile.

    The difference between science and miracles is that if you can tell someone else how to perform the experiment, they get the same result from the same conditions.

    How many people have replicated the loaves and the fishes in the last two millennium?

    Even if we accept that both science and Christianity are based off of fairy tales, I can argue that science’s repeatability makes it a VASTLY more useful fairy tale.

  109. > Without the infinite sampling interval, you get aliasing errors, which are random, and can yield a result (aka reconstruction/perception/measurement) which is nothing like the original TRUE signal. The errors get projected into the reconstruction as noise.

    Aliasing errors, yep, no problem. The noise can be expressed as the true signal less the reconstructed signal. That this noise would be random in repartition, ok. But the goal of any experimenter is to choose a period of test long enough that the noise is negligible against the reconstructed signal during the period of test. The important thing is to be able to measure and minimize (majorer in french, i don’t know the word in english) this noise.

    > You apparently do not understand well this math (maybe you do not understand fourier transform and concept of bandlimited infinite time signals, i.e. by definition no finite signal could be bandlimited)

    Well, it’s more than 7 years ago for me, so I wouldn’t pretend to be the top notch guy on this.

    Note that I really think that you are right in that we cannot measure truly the reality with experiments. But you needn’t use this complex theorem for that. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is well enough and easy to understand for everybody. And you can make a convincing case the divine will may express itself through it if you wish, as it proves that the reality itself has no measure past a certain precision.

    There is the universe and scientists attempt to create theories describing mathematically how we perceive its working.
    As noam said:
    >The [scientific] method is a process and by definition unfalsifiable (this is a “category error”) just like statements of faith. And science makes falsifiable claims. It produces theories, not truths.

    There is the results of experiments, too.
    You can argue (and you have) that the reality, and the perceived results of experiments, may be totally different if we wait for an eternity. Don’t bother with that, reality is already unthinkable some distance from here : we have no precise theory (hehehe or at least i think) concerning the heart of the sun.
    Results of science are false, but their margin error is low enough to be used everyday. We have a special category of people to use science and margin errors everyday : engineers.

    You said :
    > All the attempts of mice & men to create a greater organization than the natural one, e.g. the concept that punishing rape will incentivize a safer society, are futile and end with the opposite effect (a fascist society). This is really just the 1856 law of thermo that says disorder is trending to maximum on the whole of the universe (it must else the universe isn’t the whole universe).

    Nope. The law of thermo only takes into account energy and matter. We are here speaking of people, free will and (or not esr ;-)) society. It doesn’t apply.

    >God (the universe trend) is in control. We are not. Any attempt to trust on the long-term (outside of infinite parallel closed system, i.e. realities or perception), is futile.

    Yep. On the long-term, in some 5 billion years, the planet will be consumed by the sun. And i don’t care. I’ll be dead, my great-great-grandchildren will be dead. All that i want is to live now. I ‘d like some policemen too, to find who has killed this lonely old woman without children, and associations, and friends, to make sure that retarded people don’t need to defend themselves with weapons against robbers. I’d like some social order, in the here’an’now, ideally within a social system known to have a margin error negligible or at least unnoticeable by common folks.

    Regarding to the original intent of your post, i think it is futile to use physics to tackle sociology and politics.

    A little long, have i been ?

  110. Btw, I did make a very long amicable reply with numerous key points, but WordPress is awaiting ESR to approve it, as is the post about Google needing to go 100% open source to maximize their ad revenue peak that I linked in the prior post.

    I signing out of this thread. Thanks a lot for the discussion.

  111. You know, out of interest I read Samantha Gailey’s testimony in the Polanski trail today (it is on web, google will find it for you.)

    It is quite disturbing to read, and I recommend everyone taking the time to do so. However, I found one exchange of particular interest, because it seemed to capture the essence of the case so very well.

    At one point Samantha describes the situation where, after she is quite drunk and sedated on qaaludes, how Polanski starts to kiss her. Then she said that Polanksi starting cuddling her. The prosecutor didn’t understand, and then she explained that he had put his mouth of her vagina. What she meant was that he started performing cunnilingus on her, but, being 13, she didn’t know the correct word, mispronouncing it “cuddling”. The exchange is both an indication of charming innocence, and disturbing violation, encapsulated in a simple mispronounced word.

    It seems to me that that sentence should be sufficient grounds for castration with a meat cleaver. What he did afterward, and how he ignored her pleas to stop, and take her home is sufficient grounds to make sure the meat cleaver is blunt.

  112. Shelby’s posts are largely quackery- science doesn’t claim to get at The Truth but merely theories that are our best approximation to it- but in his attempt to rigorously apply the logic of math/science he has stumbled upon some truths. That is that faith can be as widespread and harmful in the scientific community and their followers as elsewhere, look at all the people who simply take arguments for global warming and evolution on faith without reading and considering the evidence for themselves. Not having looked deeply into either, my cursory looks tell me that man-made warming is bullshit while evolution is true, but he’s right that the math of infinity is bullshit. The concept of infinity was cooked up by 19th-century mathematicians who I speculate were looking to replace the death of religion with a new “infinity.” Even modern mathematicians back away from it by emphasizing that it’s only a limit, both infinity and limits will be excised from mathematics soon enough. One can construct a roughly similar but purely discrete and finite calculus without the gloss of infinity fairly easily, as has been done to program them into computers. As for Shelby’s assertions about Nyquist-Shannon sampling, they were merely building with the mathematical tools, sine and cosine waves, that already existed but the theorem is independent of that math. They merely use sine waves as an approximation to reality, an approximation that has done fairly well I might add but is likely to be replaced by wavelets. However, when all this is actually practically applied, it’s all done using discrete math in Digital Signal Processors and computers, demonstrating how it’s completely independent of the math of infinity that Shelby rightly has a problem with. The main problem with the gloss of infinity applied to mathematics is that it confuses and distracts those learning it, but the real damage is held in check by the engineers who have to actually apply it to reality.

  113. The only reason any of your picked “rapist” is that it is an emotionally-charged issue. The fact that we have laws against rape does not legitimize our fiat-based criminal justice system at all. In fact, despite laws and our criminal justice system, here are the cold, hard facts: Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. And only 6% of rapists will ever spend one single day in jail.

    The current system of criminal justice sure is doing a great job of keeping those rapists off the streets, right? Six percent! That’s gotta be barely above the margin of error!

    I’m afraid this example serves only to further Eric’s point that our current system of justice is broken.

  114. Ajay, spacetime infinity ***MUST*** exist, due to the impossibility to explain what is outside the spacetime bounds of the universe, and outside the bounds of that, etc.

    How else can you describe the bounds of spacetime? Do you say we can’t reach/perceive the edge because nothing goes faster than the speed of light and EM waves? Note that Eistein apparently ignored the complex plane of the Lorentz equations which allowed him to set time as the absolute maximum. And spacetime fails so far at quantum resolution.

    So far afaics is only one model of infinity that works on all levels (universe trends to maximum disorder as stated in 1856), as I have explained in the Bell Curve Economics linked to my name above. To summarize, when the spacetime edge of the universe is at the asymptote maximum disorder, then infinity model works very well. Dimensionally that asymptote edge isn’t in spacetime, but is every where that infinite parallel ordered realities (perceptions) exist.

    Wavelets and discrete sampling as a discrete model of a TRUE signal, do not remove the aliasing error. Sample an image with vertical 1 pixel wide lines, at every other horizontal pixel, then use wavelets to model your signal and reconstruction. Wavelets don’t get rid of the fact that the vertical lines will sometimes disappear from your reconstruction if your sample horizontal start point is not known a priori.

  115. In short, wavelets still have aliasing error when there is not infinite resolution (# of samples).

    Actually nothing has changed. Fourier analysis alows a tradeoff between infinite # of samples (at any spacing) and infinite sampling time. This is just a way of stating infinite # of samples is needed to avoid aliasing of the TRUE.

    Obviously infinite # of samples can not be collected in finite time, so wavelets offer no retort of my prior points.

    The futility of mice & men…and their desire to misplace their faith…

    Btw, global warming is a farce and I detailed the reasons 2 years ago:

    http://goldwetrust.up-with.com/economics-f4/global-warming-nonsense-t108.htm

  116. I meant Einstein set speed of light (usually expressed as ‘c’) as absolute maximum, not time.

    No. Einstein set the speed of light as a constant. Technically, Einstein’s field equation has “zero divergence,” which means that G and c are usually constants, expressed as the ratio G/c**2. But really, since time can actually vary in Einstein’s field equation, G and c are constant to one another only in ratio.

    Furthermore, of course, other physicists have postulated that c can vary in some cases.

    (Disclaimer: IANAP)

  117. Following your reasoning, you can’t have faith in the Bible because you haven’t sampled it for an infinite amount of time.
    Since your information about the Bible is incomplete, you cannot know what is truly says. Maybe it says that only those who reject Christ go to heaven.
    And all the attempts of mice and man to read any word of the Bible (or any other finite book) are futile.
    So having faith in the Bible is not the real problem. The problem is having faith against the Bible.

  118. Aah Shelby, :) I figured you would then double back to make a case for mathematical infinity, as it no doubt plays into your religious belief. You do perfectly demonstrate the mindset of those early mathematicians like Cantor, who is largely responsible for this nonsense and explicitly equated infinity with god (he was strongly attacked for his theories by eminents such as Kronecker, Wittgenstein, and Poincare but unfortunately those attacks have faded with time). As for describing the bounds of spacetime, Wittgenstein said it well, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” Meaning, if you cannot make falsifiable statements about something, it’s not worth talking about. Any assertion of infinity, whether the size of the universe or the resolution/divisibility of spacetime, is meaningless as it can never be falsified. On a related note, this is why I used to say I was agnostic for a long time, as the concept of an infinitely powerful god can never be falsified. All we can really say is that the preponderance of evidence is against it. This is why science always leaves room for doubt, as it never claims absolute certainty. For example, one can always attempt to falsify evolution: however you would have to contradict a century of evidence, extremely hard to do. In a sense, science already follows your notion of sampling for infinite time, because it always says that all the sampling we’ve done so far, the historical evidence, is provisional: it’s possible that the next “samples” for evolution will disprove all the recent samples that favored our current theory, though extremely unlikely.

    As for your mathematical assertions, the complex plane is merely a mathematical tool that’s used to arrive at finite numbers. It’s possible it represents another plane of reality when used in certain physics equations or maybe not. As for wavelets making up for low-frequency sampling, nobody said anything of the sort. The point was only that the Nyquist theorem holds up regardless of the basis functions used, one can use sine waves or finite energy wavelets or what they actually use in reality, discrete bounded finite symbols in a processor. My only point with wavelets is that one can do the same with finite energy functions, finite energy meaning their integral is finite. Your mistake is in taking the fourier analysis rationalization of Nyquist sampling literally, it is merely an idealization that uses the mathematics of infinity because that math had entered into the mainstream mathematical toolkit by the time Nyquist and Shannon were working. My point is that Nyquist sampling is a very practical statement that can be done completely with finite notions, as is actually done when it’s implemented in computers. As for your notion of aliasing error, that’s usually explained away by assuming that the true signal has negligible high-frequency components that are not captured by the sampling rate. Considering how successful that assumption has been, you don’t have much of an argument against it.

  119. >>That sends a pretty solid message that it’s ok to rape someone if you bribe them after the fact to ask that you be let go.
    >
    > An unpleasant consequence, yes, but I accept it with eyes open because I think the consequences of the “Mr. Society” theory > are far nastier.

    16 year-old rapes 6 year old 8 days after being released by judge because parents of previous (7 year-old) vicim “forgave” him (because they’re “Christian”).

    http://www.sefermpost.com/sefermpost/2009/10/child-rapist-kidnaps-youngster-after-being-freed.html

  120. > [...] sufficient grounds to make sure the meat cleaver is blunt.

    Why not just use a 12-lb sledge hammer?

  121. I respect what ESR is saying here: if the victim says she forgives him, why should we (or law enforcement) care?

    But I just can’t help but think of the next victim (if there ever is one) who got nailed because Polanski skated on this one.

    If he gets away with it, why not continue the behaviour?

  122. > That sends a pretty solid message that it’s ok to rape someone if you bribe them after the fact to ask that you be let go.

    > Wouldn’t the practical outcome be that powerful and wealthy people, and their friends, can buy (or extort or blackmail) their way out of pretty much everything?

    > the rich and powerful will be able to escape the consequences of their actions far more often than the poor folk

    I don’t see why this is a problem. Suppose Polanski had obtained her consent before his actions; would anyone have a problem with that? So now he’s obtained her consent afterwards; what difference does that make? Yes, the rich are better able than the poor to obtain people’s post-facto consent; exactly as they are better able to obtain people’s pre-facto consent. They are better able to make it worth someone’s while to consent to whatever it is they want to do; and that is exactly as it should be.

    The one case where I don’t agree with esr is murder, or other crimes that leave the victim unable to express his/her opinion. I do not accept that the victim’s rights can be inherited; the family can be compensated for their damage, e.g. loss of the victim’s financial support, companionship, etc, but none of that pays for the damage done to the victim himself. The victim can’t be made whole, and can’t forgive, let alone retroactively consent to what was done to him. And the heirs can’t be trusted to speak on his behalf; therefore the prosecution must do so.

  123. > If he gets away with it, why not continue the behaviour?

    Because he can’t guarantee that the next victim will accept compensation and decline to prosecute.

  124. As some previous commenters have stated, I believe that ESR’s theory of drop-it-if-the-victim-agrees satisfies the revenge/restitution aspects of punishment, but not the deterrence aspect, and that’s what I mainly think about criminal-law punishment for anyway. (If I want revenge, I don’t want to hand it off to someone else, nor would I choose jail as my method; and some person going to jail doesn’t satisfy my right to restitution.) I think that ‘Society’–not ESR’s ‘Mr. Society’ but the actual community of people–has an interest in that aspect, as the civil-punishment-only model is likely to lead to at least some fewer cases being pursued, and for those pursued to lead to smaller punishments (and, e.g., fines paid to the victim instead of jail time, which is likely to be more palatable for criminals). When I say ‘society has an interest in it’, I am not meaning to conjure up ‘Mr. Society’; I am stating that the community is done concrete damage by the act of rape, above and beyond damage done directly to the victim. Hence, any model of justice must include damage to the community as a part of damage done by a crime, and it is not a part that the victim has the right to waive. I’m not sure of a model that could satisfy this without calling up ‘Mr. Society’, however.

  125. Darrencardinal says:
    >I respect what ESR is saying here: if the victim says she forgives him, why should we (or law enforcement) care?

    I do too, but, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, the problem is that Samantha is absolutely not the only victim here. Everyone is a victim in a limited sense, and just because the cost is distributed widely doesn’t mean that it isn’t cumulatively large. Eric has argued in a different place that the anarcho-capitalist paradise Somalia is comparatively a great place (to the surrounding states) because of the anarchy. I think I agree with that (though I am very short on reliable facts.) He then goes on to argue that it is less great the, for example, the USA because of the absence of a social capital, which I also agree with.

    It is this very social capital, a shared set of expectations of behavior, patterns of thought, memes, cultural structures, that allow a group of people to live together, and it is that very social capital that is degraded when Polanski does not receive punishment for his actions. This is the very essence of deterrence, and the very prominence of the case, and the act of thumbing his nose at the system demand that action be taken even more surely, lest other potential child molesters see that escape from consequences is possible.

    There is also another whole side to the story. This is an area I continue to have problems reconciling in libertarianism. It is encapsulated perhaps best in the story of Typhoid Mary, a poor unfortunate lady who was a carrier of the disease. The state confined her not because of what she did, but rather because of what she would inevitably do — namely communicate her disease. Is this right? Is it any different than using violence against a person who points a gun at you (even though they have not yet pulled the trigger and, consequently, have not actually harmed you?)

    So too with Polanski. The rate of recidivism is very high with child molesters, and all indications are that the man has a taste for young girls since he seems to have had other encounters. Is it inevitable that he too will commit another such crime, and if so, is it legitimate to lock him up for the protection of that future victim, even though she is not yet victimized?

    I find the whole subject disturbing, the very essence of the slippery slope. But it is surely legitimate to protect ourselves from inevitable harm, especially so when the actor has committed the harm previously.

    Regardless of what Ms. Gailey wants, everyone else has been harmed, and those to whom we have delegated the task of punishing need to act without hesitation or reservation.

  126. Ivaylo, that is why the call it “faith”. Science is a faith also, that is my point.

    Ajay, “if you cannot make falsifiable statements about something, it’s not worth talking about”, then science better shut u. Nothing can be 100% falseified, that has been the whole point of the sampling theory I have explained in this thread. I am not going to respect anyone who quotes these ignorant philosophers that didn’t understand basic sampling theory. There is no “preponderance of evidence” when all your evidence is aliasing error according to sampling theory. And on very small time scales of observation (given billion year old universe, or even 2000 years of Christianity) and among very small segment of the population (most people have not even evaluated such “evidence”).

    What you do not seem to mathematically grasp is that aliasing error is additive. You don’t build up more evidence, you get farther from the truth as evidence is added up.

    “The point was only that the Nyquist theorem holds up regardless of the basis functions used”

    Exactly! So if you have no a priori knowledge of the maximum band of your TRUE signal, then you need to sample infinite samples, which is analogous to infinite time.

    You simply are not going to escape the fact that until you sample infinitely, then you have not ascertained truth.

    It is all a faith. If your faith is otherwise, then I pity your ignorance, as the Bible is very clear as to where this leads you. Perdition and suffering (excessively so here on earth). And that is relevant to the social economics discussion of this thread.

    I can not get you to understand the futility of your existence in this perception called spacetime. It is up to you to be wise enough to understand it is all faith. I have tried to give you some information, it is up to you to ignore it.

  127. Shelby Moore Says:
    > It is all a faith. If your faith is otherwise, then I pity your ignorance, as the
    > Bible is very clear as to where this leads you.

    You are obfuscating and dissembling by distorting the meaning of words. If by “faith” you mean acceptance of information that is not 100% complete or certain, you are correct, science is “faith” by that incorrect definition. However, that is not what most people mean by faith.

    However, here is the difference: in science “faith” is driven by the analysis of evidence, in religion the analysis of evidence is driven by faith.

    One is an honest seeking of truth, the other is shaping facts to fit a “truth” previously determined. That is to say real science is honest, creationism and Biblical science is dishonest. What does your Bible have to say about that sort of dishonesty?

  128. Shelby Moore, you have TRUEly lost the plot.

    A consequence of the Shannon-Nyquist theorem is that the longer you sample, the more accurate a representation you get. So why not keep measuring, analyzing, searching, and exploring? The fact that we will never know the TRUE signal means there will always be something more to find. How fortunate for us then who thrive on discovery…

  129. SomeDude: Not that I agree with your position regards Polanski, but the corner case of homeless/bums being killed is a red herring. The penalty in our society can be as light as “a stern warning” and a traffic ticket:

    That’s not exactly the same thing; the alleged killer in that case looks like they’ll get away with it because there’s not enough evidence to charge her for the murder. The problem with Eric’s proposal is that the girl there could have run over that homeless woman a dozen times in front of an army of witnesses while howling “squishy squishy fun times!”… and unless her family had the inclination and resources to extract weregild, the driver would walk.

    The situations aren’t similar in anything more than a superficial way. Rather than showing that the current system is just as bad as the proposed system, the example there shows that the proposed system is, in a very concrete sense, worse.

    Shelby Moore: You simply are not going to escape the fact that until you sample infinitely, then you have not ascertained truth.

    I hesitate to throw my two cents into this mess, but… are you thinking that a perfectly reconstructed signal (the source or nature of this “signal” seems rather vague) would be able to forgive sins, establish universal law, prepare an everlasting fire for the devil and his angels, so love the world as to give its only begotten son (I’m very vague on how that would work), and perform all of the Bronze-Age miracles generally expected of an Abrahamic deity?

    This sort of thing depends on taking something that sounds intuitively mysterious (quantum physics generally works well) and then deriving some sort of a priori “truth” about the natural world from it, usually by crossing a variety of category boundaries. Disappointingly, I have yet to acquire a delicious jelly donut through the application of a priori reasoning.

    the Shannon-Nyquist says all the efforts of mice & men are random

    This, for example… the Shannon-Nyquist theorem says something rather basic about reconstructing an original signal from a discrete set of samples. Deriving the above from it is something that belongs in an epic trolling effort directed at postmodern literary critics. I should also add that your edits to the Wikipedia page say nothing about the futility of existence, religious implications of the theorem, or the efforts of mice and men; why you brought them up is beyond me.

  130. Shelby, you are right that science cannot be 100% falsified, most of us are happy with 99%, as Jessica and Day note. Your assertion that 0% falsifiable statements are therefore equally valid is silly. You’re highly presumptuous to assume those philosophers didn’t understand sampling theory, a concept which has been well understood for millenia. All it says is that if you’re measuring something, you better make sure you measure it faster than how fast it’s changing or you will lose valuable information. All Shannon and Nyquist did is make that old truth more concrete by applying it to sine waves and coming up with the number 2 for how much faster one needs to sample (one could equally well say the sampling rate needs to be 3 or 4 times faster if one uses other basis functions, I’d imagine). If aliasing error is so rampant, you need to point to concrete examples where it shows up, simply stating that it might be rampant is not evidence. In this, you resemble the intelligent design folks, who look for holes in the scientific evidence and then say “God’s there.” When it’s proved that he isn’t, he’s moved to another cubbyhole.

    Aliasing error may be additive but so are the actual samples, that likely far outweigh the aliasing error, ie the Signal to Noise Ratio is high. Yes, we don’t know the maximum band of the true signal but all evidence indicates the band limit’s fairly low. We sample sound at fairly low frequencies on CDs and the like because all attempts to sample at much higher rates found the higher frequencies to die off exponentially. Obviously the sampling technology has limits so we don’t know what the exahertz frequencies look like, but if they’re significant, where’s the aliasing error? We don’t hear it. You say that our existence is all faith, I say it’s all random and meaningless, at least in the cosmic sense you religious people suppose. You attempt to use the math of infinity to argue that scientific sampling is inadequate. I applaud you for rigorously applying that logic to its conclusion, that most people do not attempt or even think of, and come to the reverse conclusion that the mathematics of infinity is bullshit and needs to be excised for a purely finite mathematics. Perhaps you do not grasp that math is mostly just post facto rationalization that is often not even internally consistent. Attempting to make predictions about reality solely based on the logic of that math is often doomed to failure.

  131. One more remark and then I’ll shut up on this zomg-shannon-nyquist-proves-existence-of-GOD!!! nonsense:

    “Just because science is incomplete doesn’t mean you get to fill in the blanks with whatever fairytale you like.” –Dara O’Briain (paraphrased)

  132. # Jeff Read Says:
    > “Just because science is incomplete doesn’t mean you get to fill in the
    > blanks with whatever fairytale you like.” –Dara O’Briain (paraphrased)

    To quote Bertrand Russell’s essay “Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic”:

    “when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I
    cannot prove that there are no Homeric gods…. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon,”

    Shelby, my friends and I are having a pot luck supper at Zeus’ temple tonight. Great fellowship, great food, and the high priestess is a really nice lady. Do you want to come? Poseidon’s tuna fish salad is to die for. Shall I pick you up at 7pm?

  133. Many friends of mine do the Communion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s Noodly Appendages. (OK, so a lot of my friends are grad students, and bulk pasta is what we make for group dinners.)

  134. JessicaBoxer wrote:
    > …If by “faith” you mean acceptance of information that is not 100% complete or certain,
    > you are correct, science is “faith” by that incorrect definition…

    Agreed.

    > However, that is not what most people mean by faith…

    Wrong:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith

    “2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.”

    > However, here is the difference: in science “faith” is driven by the analysis of evidence,
    > in religion the analysis of evidence is driven by faith

    But the evidence is an aliasing error.

    All of you that have replied (since my prior post) seem to be diverging from that fact. Let’s keep the debate focused on how sampling aliasing error accumulates or dissipates with more sampling. In fact, sampling theory says that anything short of an infinite sampling rate (or time, they are analogous) is going to accumulate aliasing error, and it says that the accumulation of more finite samples over time is going to accumulate more aliasing error. We will need to get into the math of this for you to be convinced, but once I show this to you, you will have no other plank to stand on, and you will fall into the ocean of your foolish “fairytale” attacks. My trap is being set for you, please continue to be my prey.

    > One is an honest seeking of truth,
    > the other is shaping facts to fit a “truth” previously determined.
    > That is to say real science is honest, creationism and Biblical science is dishonest

    I pity how deeply you have been deceived. Again refer to the scientific issue of accumulation of aliasing error. If you are seeking the true signal, you certainly wouldn’t want a method that accumulates error. Shame on you Jessica.

  135. Jeff Read wrote:
    > A consequence of the Shannon-Nyquist theorem is that the longer you sample,
    > the more accurate a representation you get.

    Wrong and ignorant.

    I will need to explain the math to you in a future post. The discussion below is not the math I need to show you.

    > So why not keep measuring, analyzing, searching, and exploring?

    Sure I do too, because I understand that the aliasing error of our local order(s), leads to exponential growth of matter, peak, and decay, which is the mechanism by which the overall universe is trending to maximum disorder. This universal trend to maximum disorder was stated in 1856 (not local closed systems, and energy & matter are interchangeable perceptions so this applies to everything):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics#Mathematical_descriptions

    “..In 1856, the German physicist Rudolf Clausius stated what he called the “second fundamental theorem in the mechanical theory of heat”…The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum…lack of specific conditions, e.g. open, closed, or isolated, to which this statement applies…”

    What I do not do is making the foolish mistake of thinking that climbing and descending the local peaks and valleys of the solution space (i.e. Newton’s method), gets me to a global maxima or minima (i.e. best fit solution). Only simulated annealing (the way nature solves multi-dimensional) gets me there, which means I have to take random leaps to new starting points in the solution space, and then apply Newton’s method again, and then repeat.

    > The fact that we will never know the TRUE signal means there will always be something more to find.
    > How fortunate for us then who thrive on discovery

    Agreed. But this is not the same as saying discovery and verification via measurement is in any way correlated with the global solution (aka universal TRUTH). You discover new parts of the infinite solution space, and that is part of the universe, but it says nothing about whether you are getting closer to the global solution. The degree of your aliasing error is completely unknowable.

  136. P.S. I assumed in prior post that you know that Newton’s (or any other gradient, i.e. collecting more samples) method will get you stuck in a local minimum of a multi-dimensional solution space.

  137. # Shelby Moore Says:
    > I pity how deeply you have been deceived. Again refer to the scientific
    > issue of accumulation of aliasing error. If you are seeking the true signal,
    > you certainly wouldn’t want a method that accumulates error. Shame
    > on you Jessica.

    You call shame on me because I seek the truth while you close your eyes to the fact that your source of truth is so full of lies, misstatements and obvious errors that it is without any merit to any honest person. You try to hide behind scientific terms like “signal” and “aliasing”, yet fail to deal with the most fundamental errors in your own dangerous philosophy. Seven days indeed! Six thousand years indeed! Demons the source of disease, laughable! Take the beam out of your own eye before you curse me for the speck in mine.

    You sit there typing on a computer which uses as its very fundamental premise of operation the very sciences that produce the same conclusions that you argue against. In this respect, you remind me of the Muslims nut jobs in 2001. Call down curses on the modern world, yet use that very modern world, whether aircraft or AK-47s to destroy the world that produced your very benefits. Perhaps when I invested my ten talents, I could have done better than earning ten more, but at least I am not you, I least I didn’t bury my one talent in the ground, and be destined to be cast into outer darkness.

    The essence of science is not truth but predictive power. The modern world is built on the predictions of science. Every aspect of our daily lives depends on the accuracy of their predictions. What predictions exactly has your philosophy predicted accurately? We still await the whore of Babylon, and when she comes I will concede the point to you.

    You pollute the minds of school children with nonsense. You steal from them the ability of rational thought that would have formed the very foundation of all our futures. How many new discoveries and inventions, how many medicines and cures have been lost in the poison of your fatuous, anti-logical, anti-knowledge philosophy? Point out the faults if you will, in modern science. There are many. However, here is the difference: if you have a legitimate valid argument, if you can make a good case, modern science will listen. It has done, thousands of times.

    In your philosophy you have already decided what truth is, and any faults will have to be obfuscated, hidden, or ignored. It is dishonest to the core. Amongst the seven things the Lord considers an abomination is a lying tongue. Yet religionists lie about science and the meaning of the bible all the time. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle that to convince a religionist to change his view of truth.

    How much further would we be as a society if your fairy tales had not fought against every new scientific discovery? How many times have the church burned a heretic at the stake for espousing an idea that, one hundred years later, the same church claimed apparently had been taught in the Bible all along? Like a Pharisee who lays a weight on all that is too much to bear, then lifts not one finger to help.

    I seek to remove the errors in my philosophy. I seek to get closer to the truth. Sometimes I succeed, often I fail. You seek to bury evidence and reinterpret it to keep your fairy tale alive, and to keep all the benefits you receive from using it to enslave the ignorant. If there really is a hell then justice demands that it is filled with religious teachers, for they are amongst the greatest curse our society has ever known. Call not then on Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool your tongue, for you have already received your reward.

    Thank god for the enlightenment. No, no, sorry, thank men for the enlightenment.

  138. Ajay wrote:
    > Shelby, you are right that science cannot be 100% falsified,
    > most of us are happy with 99%, as Jessica and Day note.

    The problem is it is mathematically impossible for you to know the degree of aliasing in your measurement (aka evidence), unless you know the entire nature of the TRUE signal that you are sampling.

    With sampling there is no percentage of correctness, or “preponderance of the evidence”, or accumulation of evidence. The nature of aliasing error is that it doesn’t manifest as a smooth, ordered deviation from the TRUE signal, but rather as a random result that can’t even be described mathematically as a deviation. Therefor there can be no such thing as decrease in error by accumulation. Do I really need to show the math for this?

    > Your assertion that 0% falsifiable statements are therefore equally valid is silly

    Not silly. Mathematically consistent. Read above.

    > You’re highly presumptuous to assume those philosophers didn’t understand sampling theory,
    > a concept which has been well understood for millenia

    Apparently widely misunderstood, as a few of people in this thread are demonstrating.

    > All it says is that if you’re measuring something,
    > you better make sure you measure it faster than how fast it’s changing
    > or you will lose valuable information

    Show me the math that says you can know how fast a TRUE signal is changing without any chance of unknowable quantity of aliasing error, if you do not know a priori the entire TRUE signal. As you go off and develop that math, you will teach yourself what I already know.

    > If aliasing error is so rampant, you need to point to concrete examples where it shows up,
    > simply stating that it might be rampant is not evidence

    The flea on the cat (search my prior post) does not know he will drown when his world jumps into the pool. The six sigma factory process (search my prior post) does not know how the user will subject the product to an environment that renders it less than 1 sigma reliability.

    The nature of closed system is that entropy can decay (order can increase), and so the tendency is to declare that disorder is not rampant. Then the black swan appears and suddenly everything changes. Quantum measurements did this to spacetime’s Relativity. The aliasing error was actually huge, but “no one” saw it immediately as Einstein’s theory was celebrated, but note that there are always voices out in the billions of us who are not heard immediately. That is why it is erroneous to assume that the aliasing error is not already rampant. You can’t even possibly see all those who are disagreeing with all the scientific theories that you currently rely on as be better than 0% truth. It will one day (maybe 100s of years from now) turn out that spacetime was no better than 0% correct (on the universal scale of TRUTH). We just can’t see that now in our limited frame of perception.

    > In this, you resemble the intelligent design folks,
    > who look for holes in the scientific evidence and then say “God’s there.”
    > When it’s proved that he isn’t, he’s moved to another cubbyhole

    Evidence only helps you in the limited order where it holds true. Outside of that (e.g. when you die, or when you will thrust yourself into an entirely new environment, i.e. go live in Amazon jungle without any modern tools, etc), your evidence will be about as useful as using a oscilloscope to hunt for food in a place with no electricity and persistent rain, insects, knee-deep mud, etc. Your tool and your methods will fail so miserably and you will cease to perform adequately for your survival.

    > Aliasing error may be additive but so are the actual samples,
    > that likely far outweigh the aliasing error, ie the Signal to Noise Ratio is high

    You apparently do not understand the math of the random outcome of insufficient sampling rate.

    > We sample sound at fairly low frequencies on CDs and the like
    > because all attempts to sample at much higher rates found the higher frequencies to die off exponentially

    In our closed order, we expect a certain order (quality) to our sound, analogous to the flea who expects his daily blood source. But that local minimum in the global TRUE solution space, says nothing about the unseen randomness (aliasing error), i.e. the flea’s world jumps into the pool.

    > Perhaps you do not grasp that math is mostly just post facto rationalization
    > that is often not even internally consistent. Attempting to make predictions
    > about reality solely based on the logic of that math is often doomed to failure

    Indeed. Math suffers from the same aliasing error problem. Everything we do and perceive is like a dog chasing his tail– it is true because the dog doesn’t yet notice it is his tail.

    I know this is deeply unsettling to some of you, because it means the current meaning of your life is meaningless. And so of course, you must resist no matter how sound my logic may be, you will not be able to agree. That is the nature of faith (yours or mine), it dies hard. Nevertheless, science is a fairytale when viewed on sufficient time scale. It just so happens to appease many people on the scale of their life in this world. If you are content with that form of life, then who I am to tell you to change. So please do not belittle the way I choose to view the universe. Neither of us will be able to prove that our faith is any different in quality of closeness to TRUTH.

    One big difference between the true Christian and the atheist, is the true Christian doesn’t belittle the atheist as being lower than himself on the totem pole of TRUTH, rather merely states that science is useful in this world but that science is also faith and less useful on the long-term view (after this life for example). The true Christian doesn’t need to stoop to belittling the atheist. So I view that as a substantial indication of the insecurity of the atheist.

  139. JessicaBoxer wrote:
    > …you close your eyes to the fact that your source of truth is so full of lies, misstatements and obvious errors
    > that it is without any merit to any honest person.

    I expected you to do that:

    Shelby Moore wrote:
    >…The true Christian doesn’t need to stoop to belittling the atheist.
    > So I view that as a substantial indication of the insecurity of the atheist…

    JessicaBoxer wrote:
    > …most fundamental errors in your own dangerous philosophy.
    > Seven days indeed! Six thousand years indeed! Demons the source of disease,
    > laughable! Take the beam out of your own eye before you curse me for the speck in mine…

    I never wrote that is my philosophy. You attribute something to me that I never said I believe.

    > You sit there typing on a computer which uses as its very fundamental premise of operation
    > the very sciences that produce the same conclusions that you argue against

    I never said I don’t use and appreciate science, in fact I wrote several times in this thread that I do use science, e.g. “One big difference between the true Christian and the atheist, is the true Christian doesn’t belittle the atheist as being lower than himself on the totem pole of TRUTH, rather merely states that science is useful in this world but that science is also faith and less useful on the long-term view (after this life for example)”

    > In this respect, you remind me of the Muslims nut jobs in 2001

    My gosh just because I proved that science is faith, now you want to label me as a terrorist, so you can persecute me. Your insecurity is exploding.

    > What predictions exactly has your philosophy predicted accurately?

    That the cat would jump in the pool and the flea would drown. That the earth wouldn’t be flat, the earth was not center of the universe, that spacetime would not work at quantum granularity, that current quantum theory will not apply to the next level of granularity that is measured. Etc… My faith predicts that all doings of mice & men are temporarily correct only. And this has always been true (so far).

    > You pollute the minds of school children with nonsense.
    > You steal from them the ability of rational thought that
    > would have formed the very foundation of all our futures.
    > How many new discoveries and inventions,
    > how many medicines and cures have been lost in the poison of your fatuous,
    > anti-logical, anti-knowledge philosophy

    I have never advocated not teaching science in school. I am ardent fan of promoting education, in fact one of my projects in Asia is all about that.

    I am precisely advocating a more rational thought process. The current failing of science is the clinging to irrational concept that science is addictive. This will end up choking science until the current science peaks and decays.

    Some medicines are designed to kill you. Society is designed to kill you (very slowly like a frog in pot so you won’t notice and jump out). Much education is designed to make you more stupid. I want to work against that. I am for random freedom, because without the random component, you don’t have freedom. So any form of centralized processes are against freedom. That is one thing the Bible teaches me, and I have confirmed it mathematically.

    > In your philosophy you have already decided what truth is,
    > and any faults will have to be obfuscated, hidden, or ignored

    I never said that nor promoted that. You are making illogical conclusions. I have only attacked the notion that science is more truthful on the universal scale than faith. I have not attacked the use science on the local scale. In fact, I wrote in prior post, that the Bible says we must maximize our efforts in the local scale (i.e. this world). Go read my prior post. The Bible properly interpreted is 100% consistent and in support of science.

    I am merely pointing out (mathematically) to the insecure atheist that belittling faith is belittling their science too.

    You might say that I am a scientist with a faith in the universe. I would say most of the greatest scientists were the same. Study them and you will see this is true, even they were not too overt in making this clear. Even many of the great philosophers submitted to the notion that there is an after life. Just study what Socrates told his followers not to be sad that he would be put to death and read his reasoning on that.

  140. I watched this video about game theory:

    http://www.pjtv.com/video/Afterburner_with_Bill_Whittle/Game_Theory_and_a_Losing_Strategy:_Obama's_Bad_Judgment_With_The_Prisoner's_Dilemma/2523/

    Whittle points out that the optimal strategy for the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma is this:

    1. Nice – Don’t start out punishing Polanski in case he might be a rapist.
    2. Retaliating – Punish Polanski when he rapes.
    3. Forgiving – Don’t keep punishing Polanski if he doesn’t rape again.
    4. Non-envious – Don’t begrudge others for getting more than you do under this system.

    So, Eric, when I apply iterated game theory to this problem, my intuition says your particular anarchist solution is all wet. A solution where the society (from tribe to international sytem) punishes Polanski no matter what the victim or any of her friends or relatives want is the best for the individuals that make up that society. My intuition is backed up by reference to various collections of wisdom literature, like the Bible and Confucius, plus the repeated tendency for us to classify as ‘good’ governments of all sorts which generally follow the basic strategy above and to classify as ‘corrupt’ governments of all sorts which allow the rich and powerful to avoid punishment.

    This does not mean that there isn’t an anarchist strategy which has the four qualities given above. I can think of one. Let’s call it ‘any sheepdog may apply’. It would allow anyone to sue Polanski, if the victim did not. I suspect it would need to work to handle edge cases. A sufficiently attractive edge case in any given system will rapidly migrate away from that edge. I believe that is known as a perverse incentive.

    Yours,
    Tom

  141. The following prior post of mine is still “awaiting moderation”, so I am going to repost it, breaking it into 2 posts (this one and next one immediately following), so that it can be posted without waiting for moderator (ESR):

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1271&cpage=2#comment-240738

    I hope I can humbly exit now for a while after this post. Apologies if my posts come across as anything non-friendly or cocky or any other negative (not sure if they do, but just in case), I am actually in a hurry (to go do some hopefully with fingers crossed exciting projects, hope to see some of you amicably in that realm) and really didn’t allocate enough time for this as it requires, so in haste I can’t exhaustively check my writings for “attitude” and “ad hominem attacks” etc. I am no where near as skilled a writer as some of you.

    Dan:

    1)

    (a) Any signal that was truely time limited, would need an INFINITE sampling rate, because it would have an infinite frequency component in it, where the signal just stopped. The aliasing error (noise) that results does not only apply to the ends of the sampling interval, nor in any predictable spacing that could be substracted.

    (b) Even if the TRUE signal had a relatively insignificant amplitude outside your sampling interval, that insignificant amplitude over INFINITE time can change (in random ways) the portion of the signal inside your sampling interval that you did not sample, which can randomly morph the reconstruction. This is very non-intuitive for most people. What I mean is that even if you think you are adequately point sampling at Nyquist rate over your finite interval, then the segments of the signal that you did not sample in this finite interval (you didn’t take infinite samples), could have high frequencies spikes that are not modeled in the reconstruction due to the finite sampling interval and sampling rate. Even analog filters have limited resolution due to L-R-C reaction time.

    2) Your point is that if you know a priori what to expect in terms of maximum frequency and maximum interval of significance, then you can reliably sample within known error rate of that. That may be true only to the extent that you already know the signal so well that you don’t need to sample it in first place. My point is that when formulating theories of science about TRUTH, we do not know anything a priori, because our a priori foundation itself was based on finite sampling intervals and rates. There is a built in randomness, which does not necessarily manifest itself too soon, which gives rise to our confidence, but nevertheless the randomness is lurking. Some further examples and discussion below…

    Thanks for the point about Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Yes exactly we don’t have to wait for eternity to see aliasing error, in fact that is Shannon-Nyquist says also. Don’t think in terms of the aliasing error being only at the ends. It gets randomly into any point in the reconstruction. And agreed about randomness of even the next shared perception you have the next moment with a different set of people, circumstance, etc…more on that below including about engineering…

    You will find that the 1856 law of thermo applies to everything, as energy and matter are just different perceptions. And then you backslide again into thinking aliasing only affects the ends of the interval. No you won’t have to wait 5 billion years to see science fail you, it is failing you every day, and this is extremely applicable to social economics. Again click the link on my name above.

  142. Ivaylo & Ken, assuming it is possible to deprive him of his senses entirely, even it it means cutting off the hair folicles on his face or giving him a drug that destroys all body hair, heck even if he does it to himself, then the point is that during the time he is sensory deprived, he himself does not know time, therefor he does not exist (in spacetime) to himself because he has no perception of himself in spacetime. To outsiders, he may still exist in spacetime if they are still observing him. (This is a thought experiment only, do not try this at some please) If he later reconnects with those who observed him and they restore his memory of what they perceived during that time, it still won’t change that his memory of what he perceived is one of non-existence in spacetime during that period. He/She will have existed only in his thoughts during that time.

    Shannon-Nyquist says you won’t necessarily always get repeatable result (even from a so called repeatable experiment), because all scientific methods that do not sample for infinite time, thus obtain random results. The fact that we do get same result in our shared reality on some relatively ***EXTREMELY*** (see history of world below) small local scale, gives us a false sense of security. That shared reality is just one of infinite random realities that exist simultaneously in the universe, it appears non-random to “us”, but it is just luck that if infinite actors exist in universe, then some quantity of them will share the same random reality (and others a different shared reality, in fact this is occuring right now on earth amongst billions if not trillions of diversity of different sharings mesh patterns among humans). We can’t see it is false, because we can’t perceive outside our limited dimensional view of ourselves. But this randomness does creep in. For example, no experiment is ever repeated exactly. There are always minute differences due to limitations of written language, limitations of precision of instruments, limitations of time to explain, etc..

    Six sigma (ISO quality processes) tries to overcome that, yet still 3.6 in million fail due to this Shannon-Nyquist random fact of nature. Realize the shared reality has holes in it that are failing all the time, but you can’t often see it because you don’t share your reality at all times with all people on earth and all that ever existed (your sampling interval and/or sampling frequency is too small). I hope you remember my flea on cat that drowns in the pool example from prior post, now let me give you another example. The six sigma factory measures 3.6 failures per million, but this failure rate depends on what they measure as failure. Let’s say they measure the turning a knob 10,000 times and extrapolate that out to MTBF rate. But the actual use of a product is not so ordered. When it gets out there in the field it might all change at some time in future. Case in point, all the military equipment failed in the desert due to sand when President tried to rescue the hostages from Iran some decades ago. So much for six sigma being repeatable.

  143. This is the 4th piece of the prior 3 posts (I am struggling against WordPress to determine what phrase is causing it to moderate my this post):

    Mainstream science may be more useful in the short-term of our spacetime, but it does nothing (or much less) to help you with time frames longer than about 120 years maximum. You are then dead in mainstream science, but not in other faiths.

  144. This is the 4th piece of the prior 3 posts (I am struggling against WordPress to determine what phrase is causing it to moderate my this post):

    Since mainstream science is saying we exist for only 120 years out of the billions…

  145. This is the 5th piece of the prior 4 posts (I am struggling against WordPress to determine what phrase is causing it to moderate my this post):

    …or millions of years that science claims our universe has existed, then…

  146. This is the 6th piece of the prior 5 posts (I am struggling against WordPress to determine what phrase is causing it to moderate my this post):

    …statistically science is basically saying I do not exist much more than an individual fleeting quantum particle exists in our spacetime scale (which is just about non-existing from my perspective, quarks don’t talk to me often). Science may eventually find a way to tap into longer perceptions of our existence. You will then might be surprised to see Christianity still applies when the old science has been replaced. That has been the historical pattern that I mentioned before, i.e. the earth was flat, space & time were orthogonal, spacetime was the absolute, whoops we have randomness in quantum granularity, etc…

    Nah I don’t overly trust science. I am aware that most of the world runs at about 1 or 2 sigma at best (again click the Bell Curve Economics on my name above). Humanity places an illogical trust in things which are growing exponentially more random on larger scales (people leave that 120 year reality and move on, only some are still in it and in fact even the people here on earth are not sharing one monolithic reality to the degree some might initially assume), and this explains the natural result of why statism (“Mr. Society”) is now trending into a big exponential peak and decay– IMHO the point of this thread and past few from ESR on many different levels (economic, ethical, etc).

    Most apparently refuse to heed the wisdom of Christianity, which is to not place ultimate (absolute) faith in false Gods and things of this world (i.e. 2nd Commandment, except Catholics who omitted it), including spacetime, time, or any other manisfestation mice & men, i.e. science. The larger scale randomness is ultimately in control. Christianity does say to maximize the local order (don’t put your head in sand like an Ostrich, in the story of talents God reprimanded the one who buried his talents), just don’t get into trusting and needing it too much. Trusting too much in science is analogous to the Catholics discarding the 2nd Commandment and praying to statues of dead people (St. Nino). The King was probably happy with the removal of the 2nd Commandment, as it enabled the people to continue worship things here on earth. Come out of the Great Harlot. You can not take any of that science with you when you die in that science and move your consciousness into the greater scale of the universe. There is a reason Christianity has stood the test of time, and it is because (up to now at least) it is a truthful window into the greater scale of the “universe” (aka God, for non-atheists). Using the scientific method on Christianity itself, I can say it is trueful because it hasn’t failed yet, as evident by the repeatable measurement of it’s popularity. Applying Darwin’s evolution and survival-of-the-fittest, it is less probable for some philosophy to remain so overwhelmingly popular for 2000 years if it was information that lead to failure of species? And I suspect the atheists are about to lose again in a big way in the coming periodic exponential peak of “Mr. Society” (probably not the final one mentioned in Revelations, as a large portion of the world does not yet have the “science is not a faith” western disease yet). Please do not associate Christianity with those false misrepresentations that died during evolution of humanity, i.e. the ones that persecuted others, as those were not Christianity and they had discarded some of the Commandments. Afaik, most (if not all) of the churches today (afaik all popular ones) are not Christianity, for afaik they all fail to teach Matthew 6:5, wherein Jesus said do not pray (i.e. to meditate on these matters we are discussing) in the “synagogues like a babbling pagan” for the pagans “already received their reward” here on earth, but “go in your room” and keep it a secret. Those who boast about prayers, reduced faith to needing this word and it’s approval and reward. And that is why I must discipline myself to not post more here in this thread. I achieved my objective to share.

    AXIOM: exponential models of life and business are most freedom directed. Warren Buffet invests for income in mature businesses, not for maximum growth, thus he ties himself to statism and the tail end of the move towards decay. His theory is he can always reinvest the income, but this theory fails on sufficient scale, because ultimately this will misallocate resources. The Bible is so wise about our needs and freedom and priorities of life, as Jesus said, “if God provides for the birds, certainly he will provide for humans”. Seek out exponential growth opportunities, no matter how small relative to your accumulate worth, and then discard the baggage. You will be so free as a bird. And as a bonus you can have an everlasting existence on a different scale than spacetime.

  147. Tom DeGisi wrote:
    > Whittle points out that the optimal strategy for the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma is this:
    >
    > 1. Nice – Don’t start out punishing Polanski in case he might be a rapist.
    > 2. Retaliating – Punish Polanski when he rapes.
    > 3. Forgiving – Don’t keep punishing Polanski if he doesn’t rape again.
    > 4. Non-envious – Don’t begrudge others for getting more than you do under this system.

    Sounds exactly like the Ten Commandments. Note the Bible says do not “murder”, it does not say do not “kill”.

    > my intuition says your particular anarchist solution is all wet.
    > A solution where the society (from tribe to international sytem) punishes
    > Polanski no matter what the victim or any of her friends or relatives want
    > is the best for the individuals that make up that society.
    > My intuition is backed up by reference to various collections of wisdom literature, like the Bible

    Ah so many people fail to read the Bible, then somehow (is that scientific to think you know something you haven’t studied?) think they know the Bible.

    However if you are stating that “Mr. Society” should do those actions, then the Bible would disagree with you, and I urge to you read my post above where I stated that freedom without the random component (of a free market of individuals doing the actions), is not freedom.

    Here is the scripture of wisdom against “Mr. Society”:

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%208:10-21&version=NIV

    1 Samuel 8:10-21 (New International Version)

    10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [a] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

    19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

    21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD.

  148. And note above that “king” in the Bible is analogous to any system of collective governance, including a “republic” or a “demoracy”.

  149. # Shelby Moore Says:
    >JessicaBoxer wrote:
    >> …most fundamental errors in your own dangerous philosophy.
    >> Seven days indeed! Six thousand years indeed! Demons the source of disease,
    >> laughable! Take the beam out of your own eye before you curse me for the speck in mine…

    >I never wrote that is my philosophy. You attribute something to me that I never said I believe.

    Yes indeed. It is easy to be a beard stroker ragging on others and not make any positive statements that can be subjected to honest critique. However, you have clearly advocated the bible as your touchstone for truth, and the bible clearly says all of the above. Transitively you have said and advocated these things. Unless, of course, like Jehoiakim you want to carve out the bits you don’t like with a penknife. (But don’t worry, Baruch has an original copy that we can always refer back to after you have cut out your discomforts.)

    > I never said I don’t use and appreciate science,

    Yes indeed, and then bite the hand that feeds you.

    > My gosh just because I proved that science is faith, now you want to
    > label me as a terrorist,

    I believe you will learn in your bible class that you need to read a passage in context. After all, Psalm 14:1 does say “there is no God”.

    >> What predictions exactly has your philosophy predicted accurately?

    > That the cat would jump in the pool and the flea would drown. That the
    > earth wouldn’t be flat, the earth was not center of the universe, …

    These are not predictions, these are things your church persecuted people for believing, and then, post hoc, changed your interpretation of the bible to encompass. This is the very dishonesty I am referring to.

    > I have never advocated not teaching science in school.

    So you would repudiate the teaching of creation science and intelligent design in schools?

    I will delete the rest of your ramblings. But let me ask you three simple questions. See if you can commit and defend your answer on these.

    1. Did Noah really live to be over 900 years old, much of it post-diluvian?
    2. If yes, on what basis do you believe this?
    3. If no, would you agree that any written record recording such a fact cannot be generally trusted in any other particular?

  150. Wisdom of King Solomon against “shared justice:

    1 Kings 3:22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.” But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king. 23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’ ” 24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.” 26 The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” 27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

  151. The Bible makes it clear that the LORD’s random world will take care of all trangressions in time:

    Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Jesus speaking)

    Exodus 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment

    Matthew 12:25 …every city or house divided against itself shall not stand

    Proverbs 11:15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure.

    Revelation 13:10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

    Revelation 22:11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous[e] still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”

    Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

    1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

    Matthew 22:21 Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. (Jesus speaking)

    Deuteronomy 1:17 You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.

    Proverbs 1:
    11 when they say, “Come on! Let’s gang up and kill somebody, just for the fun of it
    12 let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole, as those that go down to the pit;
    13 we shall find much precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil;
    14 cast in thy lot among us, let us all have one purse””
    15 my son, walk not thou in the way with them; restrain thy foot from their path;
    16 for their feet run to evil and make haste to shed blood.
    17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird!
    18 And they lie in wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.
    19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy for gain, which taketh away the life of the owners thereof

  152. Again breaking posts into smaller pieces struggle to find the magic phrase that WordPress is moderating…

    Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

    See the randomness, don’t expect an ordered road

    Luke 18:9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:
    10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
    11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.
    12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
    13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
    14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  153. JessicaBoxer, you are trying to group me into a group which I do not belong to, just as a card-carrying “Mr. Society” statist would do.

    > Yes indeed. It is easy to be a beard stroker ragging on others and not make any positive statements…

    I did not rag on any one, I said science is a faith. That is not even ragging on science, it is actually a very positive message, except if your whole meaning revolves around the illusion that science is not faith.

    > …that can be subjected to honest critique.

    I have made scientific or mathematical statements, that most indeed can be subject to honest critique.

    > However, you have clearly advocated the bible as your touchstone for truth, and the bible clearly says all of the above.

    Everyone is free to interpret the Bible as they wish. Your interpretation is not the same as mine. The Bible will be something different to each person, and that is what the Bibles says it should be. My understanding of the Bible (see the prior scriptures I quoted) is it is all about freedom of the market (diverse random actors, not ganging up in “Mr. Society”).

    >> I never said I don’t use and appreciate science,
    >
    > Yes indeed, and then bite the hand that feeds you.

    I have not reduced the utility of science, except for the atheist’s (non-scientist) mis-use as a weapon to attack other faiths. This then makes the atheist extremely insecure, because their religion is that science is not a faith. The atheist is the non-scientist then. This makes them lash out and invent groupwise deamons as you are doing.

    > I believe you will learn in your bible class

    You are so ignorant of the Bible. I do not go to bible class:

    Jesus was speaking (Sermon on Mount):
    Matthew 6:5″And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    > These are not predictions, these are things your church persecuted people for believing

    The Bible clearly predicts that nothing of this world will be everlasting. Commandments say not to place ultimate faith (idol) anything of this world. And that is not my church you are referring to. I quote from prior post 2 days ago (which I had to re-post today because it was still awaiting moderation):

    Shelby Moore wrote: “Please do not associate Christianity with those false misrepresentations that died during evolution of humanity, i.e. the ones that persecuted others, as those were not Christianity and they had discarded some of the Commandments. Afaik, most (if not all) of the churches today (afaik all popular ones) are not Christianity, for afaik they all fail to teach Matthew 6:5″

    > So you would repudiate the teaching of creation science and intelligent design in schools?

    I would let each teacher teach what he wants to teach and let each child and parent choose their own teacher, and I would never have “Mr. Society” pay for it nor have any part in it. In other words, get your brown, stinking statist nose out of other’s people’s butt holes. And if you bring your “Mr. Society” around my kids, then the Bible gives me the right to kill to defend my freedom. Got it?!

    Your diversionary tactic about Noah is not worth my limited time. The Bible tells me to be efficient.

  154. JessicaBoxer, also the Crusades and persecutions were actually caused by a corruption of the teachings of the Bible. I want to remind you that Roman Catholics removed the Commandment about “do not idol (i.e. follow with religious fever) anything on this earth” (paraphrased). I think this was done because Christianity was becoming too popular and the Kings (power brokers of society) were losing popularity and they needed to give the people their statues and things of this world to idol (see my quote of 1 Samuel 8 in prior post), and this set in motion the ability to get hoards of people to commit atrocities.

    I understand that you want to protect the children from being indoctrinated into such religious fever, but I think you may fail to understand that the Bible is teaching the opposite. In short, what you hate about religion, is not the teachings of Jesus, but the way men are by nature.

    And the corollary to that is that by trying to use science as your weapon, and then protect children from “non-scientific” teaching, you end up in the same groupwise fever that ends up persecuting individual freedom.

    The Bible is clear. Be an anarchist, and let each individual have his own outcome. Give to Caesar (society) what is his, give to God what is his. Any other statist road leads to exactly the kind of groupwise folly that you are trying to protect against.

  155. # Shelby Moore Says:
    > JessicaBoxer, you are trying to group me into a group which
    > I do not belong to, just as a card-carrying “Mr. Society” statist
    > would do.

    No, I am grouping you with the group you have placed yourself in, that is to say, with bible believing christians. Do you concur with that grouping at least?

    > Everyone is free to interpret the Bible as they wish.

    Sure, you mean like how some guy can redefine “faith” to mean something that it doesn’t mean? I have news for you, language actually means something, and the bible actually does say things. Perhaps you don’t like the idea that the bible says the stars were created after the earth, or that man and animals were all created on the same day, or that epilepsy is caused by demons. However, pretending it means something different than it says is deeply dishonest in your use of language. Language means something, and unless you have a good reason to believe it allegorical that would also have been apparent to Moses and Jesus, then your interpretation is invalid.

    So yes, it is a free country. Everyone is free to be a damn fool. (Of course you religionists want to make it a much less free country, but that is another subject.)

    > I have not reduced the utility of science,

    Of course you have. You have said it is no less faith than religion. That means that praying your car will stop is as equally valid means of preventing an accident as pressing the brake pedal. If you believe that, please let me know what streets you drive on.

    Truth is, you actually put more reliance on this putative “faith” of science than you do in your own god. You just aren’t honest enough to admit it.

    > This then makes the atheist extremely insecure, because their
    > religion is that science is not a faith. The atheist is the non-scientist
    > then. This makes them lash out and invent groupwise deamons
    > as you are doing.

    I am definitely insecure if I have to share the same road as you. Anyway, the demons I am “inventing” are black and white (and occasionally red) on the pages of your bible.

    > And that is not my church you are referring to.
    > Please do not associate Christianity with those false misrepresentations.

    Right and a true Scotsman would take salt in his porridge.

    > I would let each teacher teach what he wants to teach and let each child
    > and parent choose their own teacher,

    Well at least we agree on one thing. However, you surely agree there are limits on this, right? Surely you agree that children have a right to some level of parental capability. For example, recently one young girl died of complications associated with diabetes. Instead of taking her to a hospital for treatment, the parents decided to pray for her healing. Unfortunately, their prayer did not drive out that diabetes demon, and she died. The parents are headed for the county big house right now. Damn straight.

    > Your diversionary tactic about Noah is not worth my limited time. The Bible tells me to be efficient.

    Or to put it another way you can’t answer some basic straightforward questions because you know you will get you ass kicked. No problem, that is a pretty smart call on your part.

  156. I think it was ESR’s prior article “Why artists defend Roman Polanski” that I think he made the argument that artists don’t want to get punished for their sins. I see people commenting that it is appalling to let someone get away with a crime, but the fact is that for every crime that is discovered, there are 100 crimes that were never brought to “Mr. Society”‘s awareness. So what are you going to do to make your game theory algorithm or “better society” or “insurance against bad outcomes” work without aliasing error of 1 sample in 100? You will put a police on every doorstep?

    You see that is the wisdom of the Bible. Again refer to the prior scripture quote 1 Samuel 8 about King Solomon splitting the baby in half to appease a fair result for society (he didn’t because he was the one wise king). Or the Commandments telling us not to covet what our neighbor has, because if we do, we all end up with a little piece of nothing (1/2 of a baby is nothing).

    Proverbs 11:15
    He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure.

  157. I will give you an example of this. Here in Philippines, you can walk up to a large group of very poor kids, and show then you have some delicious cake, and then you can try to give a portion to each one, but they will often mob you and the cake ends up on the ground mashed into the dirt as inedible sandy crumbs.

    If you don’t put a police on every corner, then more criminals will be getting away with it than those who are getting punished. So the “disincentive” that you are trying to effect isn’t working. It is well known fact that only the non-criminals are incentivized, because the criminal is determined to do and he knows the chance of getting caught is relatively low on the first time.

    So you put a police on every doorstep to make your “Mr. Society” work to protect you against any possible outcome. And so what do you have?

    Utter hell and no freedom.

    And this is exactly what the Bible predicts and exactly what Western society is driving towards.

    Jessica you have been deeply deceived. But you are not alone. But the interesting thing about Mr. Society, he lets you share a deception, but still your life is empty and lonely in the core. That is why you reach on on blogs like this, trying to find some meaning to life.

  158. # Shelby Moore Says:
    > You see that is the wisdom of the Bible. Again refer to the prior scripture
    > quote 1 Samuel 8 about King Solomon splitting the baby in half to appease

    You got your citation wrong preacher, it is in 1Kings 3. However, 1Samuel does have a great example of the wisdom of the bible. In chapter 15 it has a great story where King Saul gets in huge trouble with god’s representative Samuel. Why? Because when he attacked the Amalekites he only killed most of the men and some of the animals. He did not follow god’s command to kill ALL the men, ALL the women, ALL the CHILDREN, ALL the INFANTS and all the animals. (See 1Samuel 15:3)

    Would you advocate that as a wise policy for our government to follow in its wars?

    Is killing innocent children without mercy part of the “wisdom of the Bible” you advocate? Oh, and while you are killing the innocent children please don’t forget to butcher the babies too, can’t forget that or else god will be mad at you.

  159. # Shelby Moore Says:
    > Jessica you have been deeply deceived.

    I am deceived because I don’t follow the wisdom of Jehovah the baby butcher? I think you are projecting Dr. Freud.

  160. I didn’t think someone could top some of the more insane epistemological delusions that have been thrown around by commenters on this blog, but apparently I was wrong.

    Admittedly, it is quite irritating to plow through Shelby’s metaphysical filth to get to the insightful comments. ESR, could you block her? I do not think she is going to make any valuable points in the near future.

  161. Shelby Moore says
    >And this is exactly what the Bible predicts and exactly what Western society is driving towards.

    Responding on the assumption that you are not one of the most convincing troll in the history of t’internet: I could go through the bible and interpret it however I want to; in fact people have been doing that for thousands of years. Also, why the Bible? Why not the torah, koran, or the texts that are sacred to hindus, buddhists, etc and so on?

  162. Shelby, you seem to want to mount an attack on sampling and science based on the fourier analysis behind sampling theory. Your critique seems to be that since any signal could have significant components higher than the sampling rate or at any time suddenly start varying wildly, real-world sampling is highly flawed. I’ve pointed out to you that while that’s possible, we see no evidence for it. In fact, you repeatedly ignore any call for evidence. The funniest part is that you incessantly claim that you understand the math better or that you’ve mathematically proven something about science. If you really understood math or science, you would know that it’s laughable to claim that you’ve mathematically proven something about science. Science generates math, not the other way around. The fact is that if you actually knew something about real-world sampling, you’d know that fourier analysis is just a gussied-up idealization that has little to do with the nuts and bolts of how sampling is actually implemented, with finite symbols in DSPs. As long as you don’t understand these real-world issues and are just extrapolating based on math that you’ve never actually looked into applying, you will remain adrift in your fantasy of platonic infinity, unmoored from reality and those of us trying to communicate it to you.

  163. That is one of the most absurd arguments I have ever heard. There may be other reasons to drop the prosecution but that is not one of them. So all I have to do to avoid prosecution is to get the victim to ask that I be forgiven? You don’t see the absurdity of that argument?

  164. >Admittedly, it is quite irritating to plow through Shelby’s metaphysical filth to get to the insightful comments. ESR, could you block her? I do not think she is going to make any valuable points in the near future.

    That is beginning to look tempting, but I am very reluctant to ban people. I’ve only done it twice, both times for behavior much more egregious than verbose quackery.

    Shelby Moore: you are on notice. Short, on-topic posts only, and no more than once per day. You have been severely clogging my comment threads lately and I am not surprised that other commenters are complaining. Please change your behavior so I won’t have to ban you.

  165. That’s gotta be one of the most gentlemanly warnings I’ve ever read. (I would say Christian rather than gentlemanly, but for some that would be an insult.) Eric, you must be a sheep dog or something….

    Yours,
    Tom

  166. Let’s see. Someone, having been the victim of the crime, must now decide the perpetrator’s fate.
    In other words, the law will put the crime victim in the position of judge, and thereby subject the victim to the pressure from the perpetrator’s supporters – family, friends, etc, to “forgive”, along with threats, be they implicit, explicit, or even imagined by the victim.
    What purpose is served by making the victim become the object of a campaign of public vilification? To allow the victim to decide the punishment of the criminal can only be to the benefit of the criminal.
    Many criminal already go free because people are too scared to testify, and others additionally can not afford to spend time in court because they have to “earn a living”. In fact, many crimes are not even reported because of fear of the criminal and his associates – be they real or imagined, or, in the case of sex crimes, embarrassment.
    So now, not only has the victim been subjected to the original crime, but they must now put aside their lives, occupations, jobs, and pursuits, and spend time learning how to be, and then being, their own prosecuting attorney – because most people could not afford a lawyer to do that for them, unless you live in a fantasy world where legal representation is affordable – and then they must be willing to suffer the consequences of having put a criminal in jail – a criminal whose family remains at large; a criminal who, like most criminals, could well have friends who are also criminals, and who also remain at large. And bear in mind that the anxiety of potentially being vilified in the media, or being harassed by the victim’s family or assaulted by the criminal’s friends, would be enough to dissuade many people from demanding the criminal be punished.
    There are solid reasons for *denying* the victim the right to sentence the criminal, and for denying them the authority to either allow or veto a prosecution.

    If your objective is to make the world safe for criminals, I think you have found an excellent way to accomplish it.

  167. >In other words, the law will put the crime victim in the position of judge,

    Your premise is wrong. I didn’t say the victim should be the judge, or the prosecuting attorney, I said that only the victim has the right to demand penalties. In the language of civil law, only the victim has standing.

  168. “To allow the victim to decide the punishment of the criminal can only be to the benefit of the criminal.”

    That’s a switch. I always heard that allowing victims to decide on punishments leads to excessive punishments and feuding.
    Apparently statist apologists feel a need to have it both ways, just like all other ****s.

  169. Eric,

    So, what do you think when you apply game theory to your solution? I’m afraid my previous comment got lost in the Shelby Shuffle.

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1271#comment-240818

    In addition I propose an experiment. Create a Comments Commons, with judges and juries to decide cases of comment calumuny. What sort of rules would work bast there? Would Shelby be placed under the ban?

    Yours,
    Tom

  170. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.

  171. I reread your comment. You say:

    >This does not mean that there isn’t an anarchist strategy which has the four qualities given above. I can think of one. Let’s call it ‘any sheepdog may apply’. It would allow anyone to sue Polanski, if the victim did not.

    In most variants of anarcho-capitalist theory there is a closely related notion that if nobody has standing, everybody has standing. That is, if you ask the question “Who speaks for the trees?”, the answer ias “Anybody, because nobody owns the trees.”

    I’ll start a thread on this kind of theory sometime.

  172. The word, “Externality,” has only appeared once in the previous comments. This is a mistake. Property-rights systems (which is effectively what ESR is proposing for justice) only work well when all or nearly all externalities are internalized.

    Robert Nozick had an insightful discussion in Anarchy, State, and Utopia about why some form of collective law-enforcement was necessary. Hence his discussion of the Dominant Protective Agency, which claims the contractual right to retaliate on behalf of its clients.

  173. Mastiff Says:
    > The word, “Externality,” has only appeared once in the previous comments. This
    > is a mistake. Property-rights systems (which is effectively what ESR is proposing
    > for justice) only work well when all or nearly all externalities are internalized.

    According to my understanding of Coase’s theorem, “externalities” don’t exist, only transaction costs exist (externalities being essentially a manifestation of transaction costs.) The very essence of anarcho capitalism is the significant reduction in transaction costs (such as the transaction costs associated with government and court systems for example.)

    This is particularly the case in judicial systems. Look at the court system in any country; it is a grinding, heaving, running through treacle monstrosity. It is funny to read about all the edge cases here which question the effectiveness of a private system, apparently closing our eyes to the brutally terrible judicial system we have. Remember, here in the United States large corporations frequently settle lawsuits against them even though they have absolutely no merit because the transaction costs of defending them are significantly larger than the cost of settling. Of all the institutions in society law courts and their related paraphernalia are perhaps most ripe for some degree of privatization. However, with a congress full of lawyers what do you expect.

  174. >According to my understanding of Coase’s theorem, “externalities” don’t exist, only transaction costs exist (externalities being essentially a manifestation of transaction costs.) The very essence of anarcho capitalism is the significant reduction in transaction costs (such as the transaction costs associated with government and court systems for example.)

    Jessica is correct on both counts.

  175. If I must constantly worry about the threat of attack by someone willing to pay the specified compensation afterwards, I will have to spend resources to protect myself. I would consider that to be a transaction cost, which can only be lessened by reducing the fear of attack in the first place.

    Hence, deterrence is necessary to reduce the transaction cost, not merely restitution after the fact.

    BTW, what is your opinion of Nozick?

  176. >Hence, deterrence is necessary to reduce the transaction cost, not merely restitution after the fact.

    What makes you think deterrence would be absent in a restitution-based system? E.g. if you try something hinky with me or my loved ones or my property I am quite likely to shoot you with big nasty bullets before it ever gets to a court.

    >BTW, what is your opinion of Nozick?

    Don’t have one. I haven’t actually read Anarchy, State and Utopia. I probably should.

  177. Mastiff wrote:
    > If I must constantly worry about the threat of attack by someone willing to pay the specified compensation afterwards, I will have to spend resources to protect myself.

    Who said anything about a specified compensation? The premise of this thread is that the perpetrator pays sufficient compensation to persuade the victim not to prosecute — however much that is. This is not a wergeld system, where a fixed amount is paid to someone other than the victim, and the crime is considered to have been adequately punished, regardless of whether the recipient is satisfied, let alone the victim (who’s often in no position to have an opinion).

    Let’s look at this logically: either there is some price at which you would consider yourself to have been made whole, and agree not to prosecute, or there isn’t. If there is such a price, then why spend resources to protect yourself? Let the crime happen, and take the compensation, and you’ll be better off by the amount you saved. If there is no such price, then all you need to do is inform your assailant of that fact, and he will desist (assuming that he would have desisted under our current legal system, which does not allow the victim to drop charges).

  178. ESR:
    > I haven’t actually read Anarchy, State and Utopia. I probably should.

    Yes, you should. Next time we see each other I’ll bring a copy to lend you. (I’m not sure whether I’ll make Philcon this year. The next con I have firm plans for after OVFF is Boskone.)

  179. Mastiff says:
    >Hence, deterrence is necessary to reduce the transaction cost, not merely restitution after the fact.

    Yes that is true, and I did not mean to imply that anarcho capitalism has zero transaction costs. However, it is also worth pointing out that the transaction costs associated with the criminal prosecution of a violent attack are extremely high for everyone, including the victim. One revolver and a box of 38 caliber hollow point rounds amortized over eighty years of life is a pretty low transaction cost.

    However, I should also say that I do not actually agree with ESR on this, I am in favor of some institutions of society (by which I mean elected government), and criminal law is one place where I see such a role. Government is a useful servant and a dangerous master.

  180. esr wrote:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1271#comment-240877

    > That is beginning to look tempting, but I am very reluctant to ban people.
    > I’ve only done it twice, both times for behavior much more egregious than verbose quackery.
    >
    > Shelby Moore: you are on notice. Short, on-topic posts only, and no more than once per day.
    > You have been severely clogging my comment threads lately and I am not surprised that other
    > commenters are complaining. Please change your behavior so I won’t have to ban you.

    I hadn’t been back to this page since I wrote my last comment in early October, today I come back because I will link this page in a very important programming paradigm comment I am making here (this impacts the future of open source in major way!…yeah ban me please after posting this comment…):

    http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/3637#comment-51620

    There is no quackery, the futility (“of mice & men”) of your fight for minimum entropy will hopefully become apparent to you by old age. It is called wisdom. As for the comments that followed my last comment, none of them are worth replying to, as I have already rebutted them in my prior comments on this page.

    Hahaha, ban? And you claim to be anarchist? Go for it after posting this comment. More power (minimum entropy) for you. Nevertheless, I repeat my prior comment that I remain amicable and willing to work with all of you on endeavors will drive towards the trend of the universe towards maximum disorder (stated in 1856 law of thermo). I do not have time for these cat fights, they are counter-productive, that is why the Bible instructs me to dust off my feet and “let the unjust be unjust, let the righteous be righteous, …” and let those can’t see not see (which may be myself at times).

    Btw, I am not a “she”, I am male.

  181. I’m quite sure this has already been voiced, but reading 185 comments is just over my head. Your logic is compelling, but still I don’t think you are serious about this. What if this scumbag rapes yet another girl, but this time she’ll feel truly unhappy about this and will call him to be shot? :-)

  182. The biggest problem I see with what ESR proposes, that a victim should have the prerogative to dismiss a charge, is that the victim could be coerced into dropping charges.

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